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Navigating Allergy Testing: Understanding the Differences Between Skin and Blood Tests

Navigating Allergy Testing: Understanding the Differences Between Skin and Blood Tests

Your immune system is your first line of defense against infections and dangerous diseases. However, sometimes your immune system can overreact to a substance that’s actually harmless, causing an allergic reaction. 

For example, if your body thinks tree pollen or pet dander is actually harmful, it can trigger a series of symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, or wheezing. One of the best ways to discover what exactly is causing your allergic reactions is to undergo allergy testing

At Clover Internal Medicine Associates in Fort Worth, Texas, Elaine Phuah, DO, MBA, FACOI, Leon Tio, DO, MA, FACOI, and the rest of our team offer both skin and blood allergy tests to diagnose your allergies and help cater a treatment plan for you.

This month’s blog explores the differences between these test methods, including what to expect from each.

Skin allergy testing

There are a few different methods used for skin allergy testing, but at Clover Internal Medicine Associates we use skin prick testing, which is the most common kind of allergy test. 

Skin prick tests can detect a number of different allergies, including airborne allergies such as pet dander, food allergies such as peanuts, contact allergies such as nickel, or penicillin allergies. 

During a skin prick test, our team pricks your skin with potential allergens to see how your skin will react. If you’re allergic to it, a red and raised bump appears within a 15-minute time period. The level of redness and swelling lets us know how sensitive you are to the allergen. 

Blood allergy testing

Blood allergy testing is a less common method, but it still offers effective and accurate results. This technique is typically used when there’s a chance you’ll have a severe allergic reaction to a skin prick test. We may also recommend blood allergy testing if you have a skin condition or heart disease that can affect the accuracy of skin allergy testing. 

During a blood allergy test, our team starts by taking a sample of your blood. We then place an allergen into your blood to see if immunoglobulin (IgE) antibodies appear. The more IgE antibodies develop in the blood sample, the more likely it is that you’re allergic to the substance. 

While skin allergy tests offer immediate results, it does take several days to receive results from blood allergy tests. 

Understanding your allergy testing results

After diagnosing your allergies, our team works with you to create a treatment plan that’s uniquely yours. This can involve a number of management techniques, from medication to lifestyle changes.  Your treatment plan largely depends on what you’re allergic to and how severe your allergies are.

If you suspect that you have allergies, don’t wait to get tested. Schedule an allergy testing appointment by calling our office at 682-708-0982 or by using our online booking tool today. 

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