Allergy blood testing may be the best testing method for certain patients
When a patient who visits our Austin allergists demonstrates or describes signs or symptoms that may indicate an allergy problem, we often recommend some form of allergy testing such as allergy skin testing or allergy blood testing.
These signs and symptoms include nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, asthma, itchy eyes or skin problems such as hives, dermatitis or eczema. We can also offer relief to people with itching or a sensation of tingling in the mouth, or digestive problems such as pain, vomiting or diarrhea.
While allergy skin testing is the most common test our Austin allergists use, we often recommend allergy blood testing for certain patients.
Why we may recommend allergy blood testing
- Particular medications may interfere with allergy skin testing.
- Severe eczema, psoriasis or other skin conditions may make allergy blood testing the best option.
- If our Austin allergists suspect that a patient may have a very strong reaction to a particular allergen, allergy blood testing may be preferred.
- Babies and young toddlers may benefit from the fact that allergy blood testing only involves one needle stick, rather than multiple skin pricks involved in allergy skin testing.
- Sometimes, our Austin allergists use this test to check to see if a child has outgrown an allergy or if the immunotherapy we have been performing is achieving the desired results.
What to expect with allergy blood testing
Allergy blood testing simply involves drawing blood from a vein in the arm. This blood sample will be tested in a laboratory for allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to detect a potential allergy to particular substances such as plants, molds, foods and insect venom.
Patients do not need to prepare for allergy blood testing. It is performed quickly since it simply involves a blood draw by a technician.
Unlike allergy skin testing, results are not available on the same day; allergy blood testing has to be done in a laboratory, so it may take several days to receive results.
Results of this kind of test can be difficult to interpret, so patients should be careful to choose board certified, experienced allergists for testing.
Our Austin allergists convey to patients that negative results may not be definitive—some people could still have an allergy. We know what to search for in allergy blood testing results to provide patients with the answers they expect and need. On the other hand, a positive result may not mean a patient will have a physical reaction when exposed to that allergen.
The subtleties of allergy blood testing must be combined with a patient’s medical history and other information to make an accurate diagnosis, and our Austin allergists have the expertise to provide these answers.
If you suspect that you or someone in your family has allergies, see our Austin allergists for comfort and relief. Contact us today.