An allergy test is a group of tests to see if your body reacts to certain substances. They can show what your body reacts to and how severe the reaction is.
Allergy tests will show what is causing the symptoms. This will guide treatment. The best step in allergy treatment is to avoid the item causing a problem. Medicine may help if the allergen cannot be avoided.
Allergy tests can cause itchiness near the site. Some people may have a severe reaction to the allergens but this is rare. The medical team will give treatment for any severe reactions.
You may be asked about your symptoms and when they happened. It may help to narrow down the list of allergens to test for.
You may need to stop some medicine before some tests. The doctor will let you know before testing.
Tests may include 1 or more of the following:
An antihistamine may be advised after the test. It will ease itchiness at the test site.
You may have some irritation at the test site. Needle pricks or scratches are mild.
Skin and patch test results will be seen right away. Blood test results may take more time.
Talk to your doctor about your test results. A test may point to an illness that you do not have. It can also miss an illness that you may have. The doctor will check your symptoms and all test results before making a diagnosis.
Call your doctor if you have a severe rash after the test. Let your care team know if you have any questions or concerns.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Canadian Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Foundation
Allergic rhinitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/allergic-rhinitis. Updated April 19, 2019. Accessed February 14, 2020.
Allergy testing: tips to remember. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology website. Available at: http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/at-a-glance/allergy-testing. Accessed February 14, 2020.
Bernstein IL, Li JT, et al. Allergy diagnostic testing: an updated practice parameter. An Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2008;100(3 Suppl 3):S1-1S48. Available at: https://www.allergyparameters.org/published-practice-parameters/alphabetical-listing/testing-download.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD