Blood Test vs Scratch Test for Allergy Testing – what is the difference?
Orange blossoms are in bloom, and the desert plant foliage is starting to show its beauty! Unfortunately to many Phoenix area residents, this also means a lot of wheezing, coughing, sneezing and fatigue. In order to effectively treat these horrible Arizona allergy symptoms, your doctor needs to find out what you are allergic to.
This is accomplished using two types of allergy testing, a blood test or a scratch test. In some cases, both types of allergy testing may be used. These tests are relatively simple to perform and only take a short amount of time out of your day to complete. Both are extremely effective and the results provide the doctor with a wealth of information.
Allergy Blood Tests- What are they?
Blood tests use samples of your blood to determine what types of antibodies your body is creating. Antibodies are produced when you come in contact with an allergen. An allergen is something that your body is resistant to. When an allergen is present, your body immediately begins to produce antibodies. These antibodies are what triggers the allergy symptoms you feel. During an allergy blood test, your doctor will draw a sample of your blood and run it through a series of tests to find out if any antibodies are present. A blood allergy test can identify several potential allergens, including molds, trees, weeds, grasses, dust, and pet dander.
Allergy Skin Tests
There are two types of skin tests that can be performed to identify potential allergens.
1) The first, and most common of the two types of allergy testing, is the scratch test. The scratch test is normally performed on the back. The patient will be percutaneously scratched with a plastic applicator that will deposit the antigen on the skin. This type of tests offers almost immediate results. The skin will begin to react to the allergen almost immediately, causing the area to become red, inflamed and irritated.
2) The second is normally performed on the upper arm and involves the suspected allergen being injected into the skin.
Which Type of Allergy Testing Method Is Best?
According to health line, Both types of allergy testing are extremely effective and produce accurate results. The difference is in the type of allergens that a person is being tested for. If a person has primarily systemic reactions, such as those associated with foods, a blood test is normally used. While a reaction to the skin may appear, it may not be intense enough to cause the doctor to take note of it.
Although blood tests are accurate in determining some of the most common allergens reported, skin/scratch tests are commonly the method most used in determining whether they are a problem. Part of the reason for this is the immediate results produced by the scratch test. It identifies the allergen almost immediately. It also gives an indication of the severity of the allergic reaction by the intensity of reaction on the skin.
When you visit Adult & Pediatric Allergy Associates, PC, because of possible allergy symptoms, the first thing they will do is take steps to identify potential allergens.
- This will involve an extensive Q&A about your symptoms and then allergy testing.
- Once they understand what you are allergic to, a treatment plan will be created and your symptoms will be treated.
Allergies can have a direct impact on your quality of life, especially if they are severe. Don’t waste another gorgeous spring day in Arizona feeling miserable. Please call 602-242-4592 and schedule an evaluation today at one of our 5 clinics to find out what is causing your allergies and how they can be treated.
It’s time to get your allergies under control and begin to live your life again!
Why you should NOT rely on allergy tablets (to cure your allergies)!
Allergy sufferers have many options to relieve their symptoms. The type of allergy you are dealing with will determine how effective it is. Allergy tablets are a common treatment option for individuals who are looking for immediate relief of their symptoms. The problem is there are as many combinations of symptoms as there are allergy remedies! So this article is to help you learn about which one works best and how effective they are providing the relief from allergies!
What Are Allergy Tablets Designed To Do?
Most allergy tablets are designed to relieve your symptoms but they do nothing to build up your immunities. This means that your symptoms will return, day after day. Another problem is that each type of allergy tablet is designed to do certain things. Some may treat itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose, while another type of tablet relieves headaches and opens up your airways. It can be difficult to know what allergy tablet to use if your symptoms change from day to day.
Different Types of Allergies
Different types of allergies require different treatment methods. Allergies that affect the upper respiratory system can cause difficulty breathing, sneezing, wheezing, watery eyes, and a variety of symptoms that are similar to a cold or the flu.
Allergies that affect the skin can cause hives, rashes, and red patches that are red and inflamed. Uncontrolled itching is often the most common system and can result in open wounds if the area is scratched or irritated.
Allergies of the gastrointestinal system can affect the body in many different ways. They may result in hives, symptoms associated with upper respiratory allergies, or severe abdominal cramping and diarrhea/constipation, depending on how your body responds.
What Are The Most Effective Treatment Methods?
While allergy tablets are common ways of dealing with day to day allergy symptoms (by the way, allergy tablets are a form of sublingual immunotherapy(SLIT) ….they are rarely effective at controlling the problem on a long-term basis. (Read this article by the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology for more details)
IMPORTANT: If you want to effectively relieve allergy symptoms, you need to control how your body responds to the allergens — which ALLERGY SHOTS provide the most help with!
Immunotherapy such as custom prescribed allergy shots (which is what Dr. Habib and Dr Alasaly often suggest) is just one-way doctors are now helping allergy sufferers overcome their symptoms. It can be used to help build the antibodies that are needed to reduce the effect allergens have on the body.
If you suffer from any type of allergy, contact our allergy & asthma medical offices to find out exactly what your options are. The facility offers various types of allergy testing that can be used to determine what allergens affect you and the best way to treat each one. Once the doctors have the answers, they can formulate a treatment plan to help manage your symptoms and reduce your body’s reactions to the allergens you’re exposed to on a daily basis. Get the relief you need today!
For those unlucky Arizonans, seasonal allergies are the pits. The pollens that bring sneezing, itchy and swollen eyes, and all around misery can really put a cramp in our desert lifestyle. Many allergy sufferers will at some point wind up at doctors office for a skin prick test (SPT) to determine which pollens and allergens they are allergic to. The results of this test can help you avoid your particular triggers, whether it’s staying indoors during prime grass season or taking allergy medicine before you leave the house. The skin prick test itself is straightforward type of allergy testing, but knowing what to expect can help ease anxieties if the idea of getting this test puts you on pins and needles.
Allergy Testing – What to Expect
The first part of your appointment should be familiar. The nurse will take your height, weight and blood pressure. You’ll settle into a room and wait for the doctor. The allergist will come in and ask you questions regarding your symptoms and how you are feeling and will look in your eyes, nose and throat. He’ll also listen to your heart and lungs. This is the time to discuss how your current allergy medications are working for you and what you hope to gain from the appointment. The visit may lead to new medications or even allergy shots if your symptoms to certain pollens are severe.
After the allergy doctor talks with you, the nurse will give you some privacy so that you can strip down to your waist. You’ll put on a gown without a back and lie down on a table. When the nurse comes in, she’ll have with her all of the allergens that they will be testing.
“For seasonal allergies, you can expect us to test your body on about 50 to 60 different types of allergens, mostly grasses, weeds, trees and a few molds.”
The nurse will quickly mark your back in rows with a sharpie or dry erase marker to create a map of sorts. The allergens are all sterile and are administered using a lancet, which barely breaks the skin. It is done very quickly and is usually over in about a minute. You may experience mild discomfort or even a ticklish sensation during the process. A control, which is always histamine, will also be applied. Everyone has histamine in their body, but it can affect them differently. Certain people don’t react to histamine right away, and this means that the test may be difficult to diagnose.
You will be left for about 25 minutes while the allergens do their work and your body reacts. Once the allotted time is past, she will come back in with a chart and will check the results on your back and mark them down. Once finished, she’ll create a printout for you to keep that shows your results, and the doctor will come back in to talk to you. Your allergist will discuss your reactions to the various allergens, such as the size of the wheal and flare, which are the bumps and redness that your back will develop. He will also explain what the numbers mean for you and what treatments might be necessary going forward.
Having knowledge of what pollens and desert allergens affect your body will give you the power to ease your symptoms, whether it’s through avoidance or treatment. Allergy skin prick testing is complete and straightforward with hardly any discomfort to speak of.
Set up an appointment today for our skin allergy testing to find out what your triggers are so that you can put yourself back in the driver’s seat this summer.