Get to the Bottom of Your Allergic Reactions!
Types of Allergy Testing in New Orleans
Dealing with an unknown allergic reaction? Learn about different types of allergy testing in Uptown New Orleans offered by board-certified Allergist Dr. Reena Mehta, including blood testing, skin testing, and food and drug challenges. Schedule your visit today!
“Went in to see Dr Mehta, for my 4 month old’s eczema flare ups. Within minutes she knew he had an allergy and we tested for it. Sure enough he did. She was precise – informative and just reassuring of how to manage his allergy and eczema moving forward. She honestly is the best around. So Happy I saw her when I did.“
– Shivali Narang Gupta, October 2020
An allergy blood test is helpful for identifying allergies to foods, medicines, insect stings, mold, pollen, pet dander, and dust mites.
Allergy blood tests measure the immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody levels in the blood, which are elevated after an allergic reaction. Generally speaking, there are 2 types of blood tests: total IgE and specific IgE.
Total IgE allergy blood testing indicates if an allergic reaction occurred but will not be able to distinguish the specific allergen. A specific IgE test, on the other hand, measures IgE antibody levels in response to individual allergens.
Allergy blood tests are used when skin testing may cause problems. For example, allergy blood tests are conducted when:
- The patient’s skin is easily irritated as a result of a severe skin condition such as psoriasis or eczema.
- A skin test is too risky to conduct due to medication that interferes with skin testing, and the patient’s medicine cannot be stopped temporarily.
- Testing with a strong allergen may cause an overwhelmingly positive reaction that results in anaphylaxis.
- A skin test must be verified due to a suspected false positive or false negative. For instance, patients who may have a food allergy to crustacean seafood (shrimp, crab, lobster, etc.) may get a false positive skin test. This is due to sensitization to dust mites, spiders, and cockroaches, which are closely related to crustaceans.
Unlike skin tests, an allergy blood test only requires a single needle prick. Patients who are on medication can continue to stay on their medicine without it interfering with an allergy blood test. However, blood results take some time to receive and depending on the test, there may still be false positives. Additionally, allergy blood tests typically cost more than skin tests.
An allergy skin test is considered the primary diagnostic technique for many allergies including allergic asthma, rhinitis, conjunctivitis, food allergies, insect venom allergies, and some drug allergies. Allergy skin tests provide fast results and are less expensive than allergy blood tests.
Skin Prick Allergy Test
Intradermal Allergy Testing
Intradermal allergy testing is typically performed when a prick or puncture test comes back negative but your allergist still believes you may be allergic to a particular substance. Intradermal allergy testing involves injecting a small amount of allergen extract directly under the surface of the skin through a needle. A negative control without any allergen extract is also injected for comparison purposes. The diameters of any resulting red bumps, known as wheals and flares, are measured to determine if there was a positive allergic reaction. Intradermal allergy testing can help detect weaker allergic responses but can potentially trigger a severe, systemic allergic reaction. For example, intradermal allergy testing is highly sensitive for detecting insect allergies. However, intradermal allergy tests are not advised to test for food or latex allergies due to the possibility of severe systemic reaction.
Allergy Patch Testing
Allergy patch testing is typically used on patients who may have allergic contact dermatitis or delayed skin reactions. Allergy patch tests can evaluate for multiple allergens simultaneously, making them ideal to test for local anesthetics, cosmetic ingredients, metals found in jewelry, and latex. During an allergy patch test, small quantities of different suspected allergens are placed on the skin in separate chambers and bandaged over. Approximately 2 to 4 days later, patches of inflammation may be present in certain chambers, indicating allergic reaction. You could also have a delayed skin reaction, which is found when the patch is removed after 1 week.
Allergy Testing for Specific types of Allergies
Oral Food Challenge
Food Allergy Skin Test
Food Allergy Blood Test
Skin Test for Drug Allergies
Blood Test for Drug Allergies
Oral Drug Challenge
Spirometry Lung Function Test
Skin Test for Asthma
Blood Test for Asthma
A blood test for asthma looks at circulating levels of total and/or specific IgE antibody in the blood, which can help your allergist determine if your asthma is triggered by a particular allergen.
Skin Tests for Insect Allergies
Patients are usually unaware of what insect they reacted to, so venom testing is usually performed with each of the five commercial venom extracts: bee, wasp, yellow jacket, yellow hornet, and white faced hornet.
Blood Test for Insect Allergies
Allergy Testing in New Orleans
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