Common Doctor Testing for Allergies?

Human beings are designed to know when something causes us to not feel right. In many cases, this feeling can be linked to a household or season allergy. But, how do medical professionals determine an allergy and how is it tested? The three most common types of allergy testing are the prick test, patch test and skin end point titration.

Doctor Testing for Allergies:

In all three testing types, a patient is exposed to the allergen in small amounts and then monitored for a reaction. In most cases, the patient reaction can range from a mild rash to anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction.

The Skin Prick Test

The prick test, which is also commonly known as a scratch test, uses drops a purified form of the allergen that are pricked into the surface of the skin with a needle. This is normally done on the forearm although it can also be administered on the back for small children. The scratch test can usually determine pollen, dust, food and household allergy problems. Reactions to major substances, such as bee venom and penicillin, are also tested with a prick test.

The Patch Test

In the patch test, a large patch that contains samples of the allergen is placed on the skin. This type of testing takes a bit longer to see results – usually up to 48 hours – but is quite effective in determining a reaction. Many allergic reactions to detergents, hair dyes, latex products, household cleansers, soaps and metals are tested with a patch test.

Skin End Point Titration Test

A skin end point titration test involves injecting a solution of the allergen at gradual amounts to determine a reaction. The amount of the liquid starts out small and is monitored as the percent of allergen solutions grows. While this type of testing isn’t common, it can be quite helpful in determining the level of allergic reaction experienced when exposed to a particular allergen.

Allergies can be quite serious, at times even leading to life threatening situations. But, what should you do if you suspect that you or your child has a particular allergy?

No matter how major or minor, it is important to contact a medical professional. This allows them to conduct a full-scale allergy test to determine what is causing the problem and whether there are other linked allergens that can cause a reaction. Not only does this allow for an appropriate course of treatment, but it can also save the lives of those who experience major reactions by allowing them to recognize what substances their bodies react negatively to so they can prevent allergic reactions.


Jacob Maslow writes for Allergy Be Gone, a site that sells allergy control products such as allergy bedding.

Contributing Author

This post was written by contributing author at Hive Health Media. If you would like to write for us about health, fitness, or blogging topics, click here.

One thought on “Common Doctor Testing for Allergies?

  • September 2, 2011 at 9:26 am

    How much is the risk of anaphylaxis during allergy testing, such as prick test or patch test?
    I think there is some risk and what precautions doctors take for it?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *