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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

Dr. Mehta Uptown & Allergy Google Review Score
Types of Allergy Testing Specialist Dr. Reena Mehta in New Orleans, LA
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Different Types of Allergy Testing

Blood Tests

Skin Tests

Food Allergy

Drug Allergy

Asthma Testing

Insect Allergy

Allergy Blood Test

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 patient in New Orleans receiving blood test for allergies

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.

Allergy Skin Test

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

Skin prick allergy testing, also called puncture testing, is commonly performed as initial testing. This method involves applying liquid droplets of a concentrated allergen extract to the surface of the forearm or upper back and making a tiny prick through each drop on the surface of your skin. If you are allergic to any of the substances, a raised and red bump (wheal) will appear within 15 to 20 minutes of the skin prick. The diameter of the wheal is compared to the controls to determine if there was a true allergic reaction.

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

Food Allergy Testing

Oral Food Challenge

Consuming a small amount of the suspected food allergen in a supervised, medical setting can help confirm an allergy or verify if you have outgrown one.

Elimination Diet

You may be asked to temporarily eliminate specific foods from your diet that are suspected allergens for 2 to 4 weeks. If your allergic symptoms disappear during this time, it is likely that one or more of the eliminated foods was the allergen.

Food Allergy Skin Test

Your allergist may suggest a skin-prick test, where small volumes of food allergens (and controls) are placed on your skin and pricked with a sterile needle. After 20 minutes, the skin is re-examined for any bumps.

Food Allergy Blood Test

A blood test can measure the amount of IgE antibody circulating in the blood in reaction to the specific food allergen of interest.

Drug Allergy Testing

Skin Test for Drug Allergies

Your allergist may suggest a skin-prick test, where small volumes of suspected drug allergens (and controls) are placed on your skin and pricked with a sterile needle. Skin patch testing can also help identify delayed but positive allergic reactions to allergens such as neomycin antibiotic or corticosteroids.

Blood Test for Drug Allergies

Circulating levels of drug-specific IgE antibody in the blood can help your allergist determine if you have a drug allergy.

Oral Drug Challenge

Your allergist may ask you to take the suspected drug allergen under medical supervision and monitor your reaction.
Allergist performing skin allergy test in patient with drug allergy

Allergic Asthma Testing

Spirometry Lung Function Test

A spirometer is a small instrument that measures how much air you can breathe in and out. During spirometry testing, you inhale deeply and exhale as forcefully and quickly as possible over several trials. The spirometer records the lung function. Spirometry is a good diagnostic test for asthma. However, it is not for everyone, especially infants or children under five years of age.

Skin Test for Asthma

A skin prick test using pollen, mold, and dust allergens can help your allergist determine if you have allergic 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.

Child with asthma taking spirometry lung function test

Nasal Allergy Testing

Skin Test

Prick and intradermal skin testing can be done to determine if you have allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, which causes symptoms like watery eyes, runny nose, and congestion.

Blood Test

Circulating levels of total and/or specific IgE antibody in the blood can help your allergist determine if you have a nasal allergy.

Provocation Test

When patients do not exhibit a strong allergic reaction on their skin, an allergist may elect to perform a provocation test. To see if you have allergic rhinitis or an allergy to certain types of pollen, different allergens are applied to the mucous lining of your nose. Your allergist will observe the severity of your symptoms such as sneezing and watery eyes.

Insect Allergy Testing

Skin Tests for Insect Allergies

Prick and/or intradermal skin testing can be done to determine if you’re allergic to a certain type of insect venom. Skin testing usually begins with the skin-prick method and escalates to the intradermal testing method if results are negative. 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

When evaluating for stinging insect allergies, a blood test may be used to confirm a positive or negative skin test result.
Close up of stinging insect on finger requiring insect allergy testing
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Allergy Testing in New Orleans

Dealing with an unknown allergic reaction? Get tested in Uptown New Orleans. Dr. Mehta has a reputation for developing strong relationships with her patients and being exceptionally attentive to their needs and concerns.

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Uptown New Orleans

2620 Jena St,
New Orleans, LA 70115

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