An extensive variety of allergy testing services are offered at Relieve Allergy as we are committed to improving the lives of patients with allergies. Simple, yet comprehensive, tests conducted by our team of skilled professionals can help identify the type of allergies you may have. Various types of allergy tests are narrated below to give you awareness about the way they are conducted at Relieve Allergy.
- Physical exam and full medical history
- Environmental allergy testing: Includes pollen from grasses, weeds, trees, pets, mold, dust and more
- Testing and treatment for allergy to insect stings and bites
- Complete food allergy testing including gluten, dairy, peanuts, eggs, soy, shellfish and more
- Drug allergy testing
- Contact dermatitis testing
- Lung function testing
- Exhaled nitric oxide testing
- Immune system evaluation
- TB skin testing
Allergy Skin Testing
Suffering from allergic symptoms, such as runny nose, coughing, sneezing, nasal congestion, red, watery, runny, itchy eyes, headaches and even migraines, sinus pain, and frequent sinus infections or sinusitis etc., warrants allergy skin testing to identify the possible environmental triggers and allergens. In cases of allergies contracted from environmental allergens, it is advisable to perform environmental allergy testing for targeted management. We have an adult and pediatric panel that performs allergy skin testing in both the age groups in order to detect the correct allergy trigger.
Skin prick allergy test, also performed as a scratch test (a gentle scratching of the skin with an allergic substance that, when the patient is allergic, produces a wheal and flare reaction). Occasionally, an intradermal test is required to increase the sensitivity of the test. This test involves injecting a small amount of each substance you may be allergic to under the skin and can identify allergic response to several allergens in minutes. Allergy skin testing is usually done on the back or forearm with the help of a disposable pricking/scratching device which introduces the challenging allergen into the skin. Several allergens are tested and the reaction to the specific allergen is identified and established. This test is usually used to identify environmental allergens such as pollens, molds, dust mites, and pet dander.
Latex allergy testing
Symptoms of latex allergy include a range of symptoms: anything from hives, rash, redness welts, and swelling of the affected area, for those patients with a contact allergy, to runny nose, sneezing, headache, reddened, itchy, teary eyes, for those with a mild allergy. Other symptoms include a sore throat, hoarse voice, abdominal cramps, chest tightness, shortness of breath, wheezing, drop in blood pressure and swelling of the throat or tongue, which is typically accompanied by some skin symptom whether it is hives, flushing (a warm sensation), or even an anaphylactic (severe shock) reaction.
Another variant of skin allergy tests is latex allergy testing. Although latex is mostly banned from the medical industry, latex is found in a myriad of products, including the natural rubber of shoe soles, elastic bands, rubber gloves, baby bottles, latex paints, balloons, and many more common products. As well, some patients with latex allergy have cross-reactive allergy (when the immune system sees two foods as the same) with common foods, such as apple, banana, avocado, celery, chestnut, carrot, kiwi, melons, papaya, tomato and raw potato.
Many people are allergic to natural rubber latex and this tendency can be identified with the help of latex allergy testing. A challenge test is performed by our Allergist to identify a latex. If allergic to latex, bumps or hives will appear on the skin. Similar to the skin allergy test, the latex challenge test can be performed on the skin of the forearm or hand.
Food allergy symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and life-threatening anaphylaxis symptoms such as a drop in blood pressure, shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, swelling of the throat and tongue typically accompanied by some form of skin symptoms whether it is flushing (a warm sensation) or hives. Some people can have eosinophilic esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus caused by allergic cells), characterized by difficulty swallowing, food impaction (food getting stuck in the esophagus), heartburn symptoms, and vomiting. Eczema can be caused by food or environmental triggers and is characterized by itchy, red, cracked skin, sometimes thickened, sometimes blistering, vesicular (small blisters on the skin), or papular (elevation of the skin). Depending on the food, food allergy can be very unpredictable sometimes with the first exposure being mild and the second exposure resulting in tragedy and death.
For this reason, often the first visit is spent taking a history and ordering blood testing, a safer assessment then direct testing if the current status of allergy is uncertain if exposure is remote. ImmunoCAP or RAST testing can be used to measure the presence of food specific IgE antibodies (allergy-specific proteins that flag the allergic cells, starting the allergic reaction in many cases) in the blood.
Simple food allergies can easily be identified with the help of skin prick testing. Food allergy tests can be helpful in diagnosing food allergies. Our Allergist performs the skin allergy scratch test to identify specific allergens. In some cases, food allergy is ruled out by oral food challenge testing, in which under controlled environments and careful medical supervision, a person is challenged by eating the food to be tested in graduated amounts to look for any allergic symptoms.
Depending on the severity of the allergy, we conduct food allergy testing in a graduated investigative sequence in order to avoid any complications such as severe anaphylactic reactions. In other words, if a skin or blood test gives positive results we do not move on to conduct oral food challenge for the sake of the patient’s safety.
A rash in the area of contact is typically an allergic or irritant contact rash. It can occur from a very small amount of a substance and may occur for many years without a patient being aware of the trigger substance creating a problem. Common symptoms can be blistering, itching, disruption of the skin, redness, and swelling. These symptoms can result from very common household products that may have not been a problem in the past, like toothpaste, nail polish, jewelry, fragrance in soaps and detergents, chemicals in hair dye and clothing and rubber gloves. A Patch test can help establish the diagnosis of allergic and irritant contact dermatitis of the skin in cases when it comes into contact with the specific allergic substance. Ranges of substances that can be used for patch testing include metals, chemicals, cosmetics, etc. which are tested by applying a patch to the skin, and then checking the latent allergic response at specific intervals.
Reaction to insect stings can be frightening and can create a small local swelling or a life-threatening reaction. Venom testing is highly sensitive in identifying allergic responses to the sting of insects belonging to the group Hymenoptera (including wasps, bees, and ants) and Vespid (including yellow jacket hornets, white-faced hornets, and hornet wasps). Venom testing is performed to identify the insect venoms that result in the aggressive allergic reaction. The insects that can be tested include bee, wasp, hornet, yellow jacket & white-faced hornets. Initially skin prick testing is done and then if negative, minute amounts of extracts are introduced into the skin (intradermal skin testing). Positive testing will lead to the appearance of a wheal and flare (hive).
The first step in Drug Testing is evaluating whether testing and further use is even wise, and this comes largely through a careful history. Some allergy reactions should be avoided completely, while some can be inhibited temporarily through a process known as desensitization. Desensitization is a process of continually increasing the dose of the allergen in order to eventually change or reduce the immune response.
Drug allergy response can range from mild side effects to life-threatening reactions. They can be identified successfully with the help of drug testing. Antibiotic testing is a type of drug allergy test to determine the adverse effects that may arise with the intake of a specific antibiotic. Penicillins and Cephalosporins (antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections) are the most common drug groups that are tested for probable allergic reactions. Antibiotic testing can be done by various methods starting from a simple skin prick test with minimal dosage and proceeding to intradermal testing (injecting extracts into the skin). Finally, antibiotic testing can be done through oral antibiotic challenging using graduated drug doses. However, validated and reliable skin test compounds are only available for penicillin.
Spirometry is a simple yet effective screening test to determine the scope of lung or breathing functioning. Spirometry testing measures the volume (amount) and flow (speed) of air that can be inhaled and exhaled. Spirometry can help diagnose and follow severity of various lung conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), as well as other disease that affect normal breathing. We strive to perform spirometry or PFT every 3 months on our actively treated asthmatics and COPD patients.
Pulmonary Function Testing
Pulmonary function tests, or PFT’s, are a broad range of tests used to measure how well your lungs perform in moving air in and out, as well as the efficiency of transfer of oxygen into the blood. PFTs are usually performed as a part of general physical investigation to identify lung problems, to check effectiveness of treatment of certain lung diseases, as well as prior to operative procedures to measure lung functioning. This testing looks more closely at several lung volumes and can be very important, especially if the working diagnosis is more than asthma or COPD after performance of Spirometry and in tracking changes in lung function. We strive to perform a PFT once yearly on our actively treated asthmatics.