When the human body suspects that it's under attack, it may trigger allergic reactions to try to fight the effects of certain foreign substances. Whether your allergic reactions are triggered by dust, pollen, or other foreign agents that your body detects as threats, allergy testing may be recommended to determine your specific allergy triggers. These answers to commonly asked questions about allergy testing can help you determine if this diagnostic method is right for you.

Is allergy testing only done for people with seasonal allergies?

Allergy testing is often done for people who suffer from seasonal allergies, but it can also be performed for people who are triggered by other types of allergic reactions. You can also have an allergy test done to see if you're allergic to certain foods or medications. Testing for allergic reactions to latex, beauty products, and other substances can additionally be performed. 

What is the skin prick test?

The skin prick test is a common testing method, which is done by piercing the skin several times lightly with a needle so that small amounts of certain substances can be placed under the skin. You and your doctor will know if you're allergic to a certain substance if it causes a small, irritable bump to form on the skin. 

How is food allergy testing performed?

Food allergies can often be determined with a skin prick test, but an oral food challenge test may also be used to ensure an accurate diagnosis. Under close medical supervision, you'll be fed small amounts of any foods that are suspected of causing allergic reactions. Any allergic reactions that you experience will be noted and treated quickly by medical staff if necessary.

Are other allergy testing methods available?

Blood is sometimes drawn so that healthcare professionals can look for certain antibodies that are linked to allergic reactions. A doctor might also inject a small amount of substance into the body to see if it causes adverse reactions. Oral medication challenge tests are sometimes done when certain medicines are in question. Another test is a patch test, which involves placing a special patch with possible allergy-causing substances in it on the skin.

Is allergy testing safe?

Doctors take every imaginable precaution to ensure that allergy testing is done without putting patients' health in jeopardy. This testing uses small amounts of possible allergy-causing substances so that the body will only react mildly. It's important to let your doctor know if you're pregnant or dealing with other medical conditions that could be complicated by allergy testing.

Whether you experience unpleasant symptoms during certain times of the year or because of some of the products that you use, allergy testing can help you become more informed. The information that's learned from allergy testing may be used to devise a treatment plan that will help minimize or entirely eliminate your allergic reactions.