Allergy Tests: What Happens? How Long Do They Last?

Most allergies might not be considered critical illnesses, but they are a nuisance. Here is a short guide to allergy tests.

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Allergy tests are performed to find out what substances (also known as “allergens”) may cause an allergic reaction in a subject. This is done by exposing the subject to a number of potential allergens and assessing the reactions.

Types of allergy test include:

Skin patch testing

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A pad containing one or more allergens is placed on the skin of the subject for a period of 24 to 72 hours. 

Skin prick test (also known as a “scratch test”)

A solution containing allergens is placed on the skin. The skin is then pricked or scratched to allow the allergens to enter. If the skin becomes inflamed then the person is considered allergic to the allergen.

Intra dermal test

In this test allergens are injected just below the surface of the skin. This test is considered more sensitive than the skin-prick test.

Blood testing

This is done in cases where the subject is not able to have a skin test. The testers look for antibodies in the blood.

Allergy tests can take anywhere from a few minutes (in the case of the skin-prick and intra-dermal tests) to 72 hours (for skin pad testing).

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