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How Does a Doctor Diagnose an Allergy?

How Does a Doctor Diagnose an Allergy?

Diagnosing allergies involves a systematic approach by healthcare professionals, the process aims to identify the specific allergens triggering an individual’s immune response. When choosing a testing method, factors such as age, medical history, and expected kind of allergy are taken into consideration. It’s important to seek professional medical advice for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate management. Dr. Smriti Choudhary, MD, and Dr. Niraj Choudhary, MD, will provide you with proper medical guidance and a treatment plan that will lead to positive results. For more information, please contact us or schedule an appointment online. We are conveniently located at 360 E Medical Center Blvd Suite C Webster TX 77598.

How Does a Doctor Diagnose an Allergy? | Allergy and You
How Does a Doctor Diagnose an Allergy? | Allergy and You

Table of Contents:

How do doctors diagnose allergies?
What tests are done to determine allergies?
How long does it take to diagnose an allergy?
Which is more accurate allergy skin test or blood test?

Several different allergy tests are regularly completed by physicians to accurately diagnose specific allergens. These tests are typically minimally invasive and are often necessary in allowing patients to effectively treat or manage their allergy symptoms.

How do doctors diagnose allergies?


To accurately diagnose allergies, doctors will require their patients to perform an allergy test. Those with allergies can sometimes have difficulty in narrowing down the exact cause of their allergy symptoms, particularly when it comes to identifying some food allergies, or airborne allergies. Patients with environmental allergies can have several allergens but are unable to isolate any one specific allergen to concretely determine their allergy.

Several types of allergy tests can be completed depending on the allergy symptoms that are being experienced, so it is important that patients more or less keep track of their symptoms and scenarios in which these symptoms occur to help the doctor determine the type of allergen that should be tested. Multiple tests may be required to provide an accurate diagnosis.

What tests are done to determine allergies?


The most common type of allergy test is a skin prick test, which is completed by placing small drops of the allergen onto the surface of the skin, usually, several allergens are being tested at the same time, followed by a small prick of the skin to allow for the allergen to enter the surface of the skin. Within 15 minutes, the substances that are allergens to the patient will cause a small wheal (red bump) or rash surrounding the location of the allergen, indicating that there is an allergic to that specific substance. This test is typically completed on the forearms for adults or the back for children as a wide surface area is required to test for several allergens at one time.

An intradermal skin test may be recommended if the results provided from the skin prick test are inconclusive, involving having the specific potential allergens injected just into the surface of the epidermis to check for allergy symptoms. This is also a common test used to check for allergies to medications or venoms.

Other types of allergy tests include blood tests, where a sample of blood is taken to assess the quantity of antibodies that are present in the blood, medically supervised challenge tests, where the allergen is provided in pill form to assess symptoms, and patch tests, where the allergen is applied to the surface of the skin and left covered for around 48 hours.

How long does it take to diagnose an allergy?


The total amount of time it takes to diagnose an allergy heavily depends on the type of allergy and the type of testing that is used. Skin prick tests will take around 20 minutes to complete and identify the allergens as the reactions on the skin will develop almost immediately after exposure. Blood tests will likely take a few days as the blood sample will need to be sent to a laboratory for assessment, and the physician will need to assess the results before providing a diagnosis. The patch tests can take anywhere from 48 to 96 hours before returning to the physician for an assessment. Multiple tests may be required to accurately diagnose the allergy, in which case, the timeline would be even longer depending on which tests are completed. With all of this in mind, the sooner you start having testing completed, the sooner you will be able to receive an accurate diagnosis to effectively manage or eliminate your symptoms.

Which is more accurate allergy skin test or blood test?


Neither type of allergy test is 100% accurate, but one type of test may be more accurate than another depending on the type of allergen. The accuracy for skin prick tests includes very unlikely false negatives, but there is a higher chance of having false positives, so in many cases, patients who receive positive results from their skin prick test will likely require another type of test to confirm the results. Blood tests for allergies have a very similar false positive rate as skin prick tests, making them fairly similar in accuracy. Both can provide the doctor with ample information regarding the allergies of the patient, but will often require further testing if a complete accurate diagnosis is required, such as in cases of severe allergic reactions.

Consult our healthcare professionals at Allergy and You for symptoms that may be related to an allergy. For more information, please contact us or schedule an appointment online. We are conveniently located at 360 E Medical Center Blvd Suite C Webster TX 77598. We serve patients from Webster TX, Bacliff TX, Dickinson TX, Seabrook TX, League City TX, and Clear Lake City TX.