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Allergy Testing

Bulent Mamikoglu, M.D.

Last updated: December 12, 2015

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In Chicago Dizziness and Hearing we use prick and intradermal testing methods.

Allergy testing usually takes around 45 minutes to one hour, and most results are immediately available at the end of testing. Sometimes for mold and dust allergies we also perform delayed reaction reading after 48 hours of testing. This is sometimes done simply by sending a picture of the injection site to the doctor.

All allergy testing patients should stop taking oral antihistaminic medications, these are Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec, Benadryl and other similar medication may interfere with the testing. Patient taking non selective B blockers, such as propranolol or metoprolol, will be screened if it is safe to test them; sometimes patients taking these B blockers may need to stop the medication 24 hour before testing.

Prick testing:

The prick testing is mostly a screen in our practice, we screen for common tree, grass, weed pollens, and few mold, dust and animal allergens. We also recommend screening for food allergens, we usually screen for milk, soy, corn, wheat, peanut, shellfish and pork in this method.

All the allergy testing is performed by physician or under his/her direct supervision. We think allergy testing is the most important step in diagnosis, and we prefer our physicians do the interpretation of the test results. In some allergy centers test is only read with the allergy technician.

For very sensitive patients we use topical lidocaine or tetracaine gel. This gel comes in handy also if we are testing children. Allergy testing can be performed after age 7.

Intradermal testing

Intradermal test is more sensitive test compared to prick testing but false positives can be seen, and its specificity is lower than prick testing. False positives will occur with cross reactivity between the antigens.

For dust allergy we test for d. pteronyssinus and farina, we also do comprehensive mold allergy testing. Alterneria, aspergillus, hormodendrum, penicillium, helminthosporium, chaetomium and pulluaria.

Grass and grain smut is also available for allergy patients living close to rural or semirural areas.

Complications of allergy testing

A severe anaphylactic reaction following allergy testing is very unusual, and in general, the most severe reaction we have ever encountered during testing is generalized urticaria (hives), which responds to antihistaminics or steroids. In our clinic, we are very safe as we are well supplied with medications to treat a reaction as well as resuscitation equipment. We are located across the street from the emergency room as well.

Treatment

Treatment for allergy can be with medications, allergy shots or drops. Each has it's own advantages.

Copyright August 3, 2016 , Timothy C. Hain, M.D. All rights reserved. Last saved on August 3, 2016