Diagnosis of Allergy

Diagnosis of Allergy


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Diagnosis of Allergy

Diagnosis of allergy may be generally easy with the help of symptoms, but other medical conditions with similar symptoms also need to be considered before diagnosing allergy, such as vasomotor rhinitis. Diagnosis of allergy may be easy, but to find out the cause of allergy may be very difficult. There are several methods of finding out the cause of allergy once the diagnosis of allergy is made, but the most commonly used methods are skin testing and blood testing.

Skin testing in allergy:

This is the most preferred method of allergy test, to find out the exact cause of allergy, as skin test is more specific and sensitive, cheaper and easy to use in compare to blood testing. Skin test can assess the allergen-specific IgE antibodies. Synonyms of skin testing include “puncture testing” and “prick testing” due to the numbers of tiny punctures/pricks made into patients skin.

The procedure of skin testing:

Minute amounts of suspected allergens or their extracts are introduced to the sites of skin (commonly inner side of forearm or back are selected for skin testing) after carefully marking with pen or dye. The ink or dye need to be selected carefully as ink/dye may itself induce allergy. The skin is pricked or punctured with the help of a plastic or metal device. The suspected allergens may also be injected intradermally with the help of intradermal needle and syringe.

The results are read after 30 minutes. If patient is allergic to a particular allergen a visible inflammatory reaction occurs within 30 minutes. The inflammatory reaction may be slight redness of the area to “wheal and flare” in severe forms and in extremely severe cases an anaphylactic reaction may occur from skin testing itself. The result is graded or interpreted by giving a score ranging from +/- meaning borderline reaction to 4+ meaning very severe allergy. The results of allergy skin tests are best interpreted by allergists. Sometime in severe cases it is preferable to do blood testing before doing skin testing. Allergic tests should not be performed if the patient has taken antihistamines in the last one week for any medical condition.

Blood testing for diagnosis of allergy:

There are several blood tests available to evaluate allergy. The most commonly used blood testing is estimation of total serum IgE level, which can be done by color metric or radiometric immunoassays. A low level of total serum IgE does not rule out allergy but can be a useful guide.

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1 Comment

  • khan tv
    August 4, 2011 - 8:41 pm

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