Allergy Testing

Doctors at the institute use skin tests to determine whether a patient has IgE antibodies in the skin that react to a specific allergen. The doctor uses diluted extracts from allergens such as dust mites, pollens, or molds commonly found in our local area. The extract of each kind of allergen is injected under the patient's skin or is applied to a tiny scratch or puncture made on the patient's arm or back. With a positive reaction a small, raised, reddened area (called a wheal) with a surrounding flush (called a flare) appears at the test site. There are also diagnostic tests that use a blood sample from the patient to detect levels of IgE antibodies to a particular allergen. One such blood test is called the RAST (radioallergosorbent test), which can be performed when eczema is present or if a patient has taken medications that interfere with skin testing.