Allergy Testing: Types, Purpose, Results & More

Why do some people start sneezing badly when flowers bloom or feel sick near cats? Behind such puzzled reactions are hidden allergies to normal things around us, like pollen or fur. If not checked, the discomfort only grows worse each season or visit.

Thankfully, today’s medical tests can identify what exactly is triggering the body’s immune system gone wrong. But how do doctors find the culprit allergens? What methods analyze our immunity defense response? Which result numbers confirm what substances are causing the runny nose, breathing issues, and rashes?

Let’s understand the common allergy tests that provide clues to dealing with reactions better and living freely.

What Causes Allergy?

An allergy happens when the immune system overreacts to substances in the environment that are harmless to most people. These substances that trigger allergic reactions are called allergens or allergic triggers.

Common examples of allergy-causing allergens are:

  • Pollen from trees, grasses, weeds
  • Mold spores in air or surroundings
  • Pets fur, skin flakes or saliva
  • Dust mites residing in carpets, soft toys, etc
  • Insect stings or bites
  • Certain Foods like peanuts, shellfish, etc
  • Medications like penicillin, ibuprofen
  • Latex exposure through gloves, masks, etc

When allergens enter/contact the body, immune cells wrongly mark them as “dangerous invaders” in people with overactive immune systems. As a defense, the cells release histamine chemicals resulting in inflammatory reactions via rashes, sneezing, watery eyes, or difficulty breathing based on allergy type.

Customised avoidance strategies or medications can be charted out through testing by identifying what triggers this abnormal response.

What are Allergy Tests?

Allergy tests aim at accurately detecting which particles among numerous commonly surrounding candidates are specifically instigating aggravated histamine responses. They analyse the immune system’s reaction patterns on exposure, helping zero in on the exact irritants warranting evasive action rather than guessing. Allergy-suffering individuals subjected to validated diagnosis tests display a notable dip in related nasal, respiratory, or skin affliction intensities when subsequent management stays guided by test revelations.

Most Prevalent Allergy Testing Methodologies

Allergy testing protocols leveraging skin or blood samples aid identification. These are some of the significant types of allergy tests:

  1. Skin Prick Testing 

A skin prick test (SPT) remains a preferential first-line investigation exposing skin locally through miniature pricks to plausible allergic extracts, observing hypersensitivity exhibits, if any. About 50-100 probable allergen candidates get tested, including pollen, furry animals, dust mites, etc, with results available within 30-60 minutes. Redness, swelling, and itching at specific prick spots signal the bothersome agents.

  1. Intradermal Allergen Testing

Here, allergy-triggering suspects get injected just under the skin rather than pricking the surface to note similar hypersensitivity markers around test sites indicating immune activation by those particular antigens. Doctors deploy about ten commonly bothersome allergens through insulin-type injections on forearms or back skin, scanning reactions closely.

  1. Patch Allergy Testing 

This investigates contact-based allergies from costume jewelry, cosmetics, metals, etc, through adhesive patches holding allergen extractions. Wearing them for 48 hours notes skin color changes, unveiling contact allergies. It is helpful when skin prick reactions seem ambiguous.

  1. Allergy Blood Test Measuring Antibodies 

Where skin assessments remain improbable for individuals on immunosuppressants or skin conditions like eczema, measuring allergen-specific immunoglobin E antibodies present within blood samples acts as a proxy. Total IgE tests check levels, while specific IgE tests confirm sensitivity towards particular suspects like nuts, pollen, etc.

Why Allergy Testing is Important?

Here are the reasons why allergy testing is important:

1. Pinpoints Specific Triggers

Accurate allergy testing helps identify precise substances that stimulate immune reactions, some even remaining undiscovered or ambiguous. It links observable allergy symptoms, whether digestive issues, skin hives, or respiratory distress, to granular indoor or outdoor environmental triggers among numerous candidates. This facilitates making suitable modifications.

2. Informs Management Decisions

Testing clarity empowers physicians to guide patients precisely on components to eliminate proximity that exacerbates susceptibility. It also clearly indicates if prescribing anti-histamine preventive medications, allergy shots, or other treatments makes sense for enabling stability on exposure based on the identified intensity of triggers.

3. Analyzes Hypoallergenic Environment Efficacy

For patients who recommend custom hypoallergenic environments for managing extreme reactions, undertaking patch testing remains vital to analyze if dedicated facilities truly remain allergen-free as promised. It assesses if any traces wafting within continue stimulating reactions, warranting mitigation for safe inhabitance. Moreover, you can also check online the allergy test price for a rough idea.

4. Supports Accessing Medical Interventions

Pinpointed, medically documented allergy testing reports give legitimacy for patients to avail accommodations in the workplace or schools, preventing avoidable environmental exposures leading to reactions affecting productivity. It also sets the stage for beginning graded allergen exposure therapies to build sustained tolerance under supervision.

Interpreting Allergy Test Reports 

Skin prick test markers getting graded across plus scales with:

  • Negative: No skin reaction
  • 1+ Mild: Light red spot
  • 2+ Moderate: Red raised bump
  • 3+ Significant: Intensely inflamed raised welts confirm specific allergen hypersensitivity

Similarly, increased skin thickness and redness upon injection site inspection against baseline in intradermal assessments indicate stimuli responsiveness for those antigens.

While in patch testing, timed skin color changes precisely against control areas, identifying external contact antigens that trigger hives or itches.

For immunoglobin reports, IgE counts above predetermined cut-offs confirm suspected allergy. Children usually display <60 IU/ml, while adults with < 100 IU/ml remain ideal. Higher values pin suspected sensitivities guiding suitable intervention.


Comprehensive allergy testing delivers insight into making informed environment and self-care modifications for restoring a balanced being. Take charge through timely investigations to script differentiated coping strategies that alleviate suffering sustainably when threats get recognized better holistically.