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Skin Test For Allergy (cont.)

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What are the advantages of skin tests?

Skin tests are rapid, simple, and relatively safe. They can be very helpful in specifically identifying causes of allergies.

Is there danger to a skin test?

In very rare cases, patients may have a severe allergic reaction involving multiple body systems to skin testing. For this reason, skin testing should be completed by an experienced allergist who is well prepared to diagnose and treat a severe allergic reaction. Although both are safe, intradermal or intracutaneous skin testing is more likely to cause a severe allergic reaction compared to prick/puncture testing.

What is done if a skin test can't be done?

For these patients, a doctor may use special blood tests, such as the RAST and the ELISA. These tests measure the presence of specific types of IgE in the blood.

These tests may cost more than skin tests, and results are not available immediately. As with skin testing, positive RAST and ELISA tests do not by themselves necessarily make the final diagnosis.


Bernstein, et al. "Allergy Diagnostic Testing: an update practice parameter." Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology 100 (2008): S1-149.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/30/2016


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