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Which allergy test is right for me?

By: Bobbie Hasselbring

Together, you and your doctor will determine which type of allergy testing is best for you. Some of the pros and cons of each type are:

Skin Testing (Scratch/Intradermal)

Pros

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  • Immediate results
  • Sensitive
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Multiple skin pricks/punctures
  • Some medications can affect results
  • Rare risk of possible life-threatening reaction (anaphylactic shock)
  • Can't be used for people who have widespread skin problems or are taking certain medications

 Blood Testing (RAST)

Pros

  • No risk of anaphylactic reaction
  • Good for children and people who have skin problems or who are taking some medications
  • One needle stick to draw blood

Cons

  • Delayed results
  • More expensive
  • Requires needle stick

Challenge Tests

 Pros

  • Immediate results
  • Can be used when food or drugs that are possible allergens are needed

Cons

  • Risk of possible life-threatening reaction (anaphylactic shock)
  • Expensive

 

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