Allergy Testing

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Allergy testing can be performed as skin tests or as blood tests.

Historically, testing for allergic disorders has relied on skin tests which have been used since around 1860. Today, skin prick or puncture tests are most commonly used by allergy specialists as an in-office procedure.

Allergy blood tests are another way for physicians to evaluate a patient’s allergic sensitivities. These tests require a blood sample which is sent to a reference laboratory to perform the testing. Allergy blood tests are also used by allergy specialists (particularly for evaluating food allergies), but are more commonly used by primary care physicians and otolaryngologists.

Skin tests and blood tests are considered to be equivalent in their clinical effectiveness by the National Institutes of Health (NIAID Food Allergy Guidelines and NHLBI Asthma Guidelines).