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Allergy Testing

Allergies - The What and the Why   •   Allergy Testing   •   Allergy Injections

1. Prick Technique: The prick technique involves introducing a small amount of allergen into the skin by making a small puncture through which a drop of the allergen extract is introduced. If you have an allergy, the specific allergens that you are allergic to will cause a chain reaction to begin in your body.

2. Intradermal: Involves injecting a small amount of allergen under the skin with a syringe. This form of testing is more sensitive than the prick skin test method. This form of allergy testing may be used if the prick is inconclusive or suggest further testing would provide a more detailed evaluation.

People with allergies have an allergic antibody called IgE (immunoglobulin E) in their body. This chemical, which is only found in people with allergies, activates special cells called mast cells. These mast cells release chemicals called mediators, such as histamine, the chemical that causes redness and swelling.

With testing, this swelling occurs only in the spots where the tiny amount of allergen to which you are allergic has been introduced. So, if you are allergic to ragweed pollen but not to cats, the spot where the ragweed allergen touched your skin will swell and itch a bit, forming a small pea-sized hive. The spot where the cat allergen scratched your skin will remain normal. This reaction happens quickly within your body.

Related allergy links:
Allergic Rhinitis

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