When people suffer from allergies, the doctor must first conduct some allergy tests to identify the type of allergen that causes allergy so that treatment can begin. When you visit a Singapore clinic for allergy test, a trained allergy specialist will perform the test to understand whether your body has an allergic reaction to a known substance. The test consists of exposing your skin to suspected substances or allergens that cause allergy and then observing for signs showing an allergic reaction. Allergies can happen due to skin exposure, and if you inhale allergens floating in the air or eat something, that can cause allergy. Allergy tests performed by blood tests and skin tests can help identify allergens or substances that cause allergies.
Besides examining the patient, the doctor will consider your medical history for diagnosing allergies. When the medical history and exam point to allergies, the doctor might recommend allergy tests to determine the substances that cause allergies. However, you must not undertake allergy tests unless advised by a doctor.
Need for allergy tests
Doctors gather information from allergy tests to develop an allergy treatment plan that includes allergy shots, medications, and avoiding allergens. Allergy tests help diagnose various allergic conditions like allergic asthma, hay fever, food allergies, eczema or dermatitis, bee venom allergy, and penicillin allergy. Although skin tests are safe for children and adults, the doctor would consider your medical history before advising allergy tests because certain conditions prohibit allergy testing.
When not to do allergy skin tests
Severe allergic reaction – Allergy skin tests consist of injecting minute allergens under the skin to understand how it reacts with the body. However, if you are sensitive to certain items, then exposure to the tiniest amount can cause severe allergic reactions, in which case your doctor will ask you not to do the test.
Certain skin conditions – The arms and the back are the usual testing sites for allergies. But if there is severe eczema or psoriasis on these parts of the body, it could be challenging to identify a spot free from any diseases where allergy tests can be done. Some other skin conditions like dermatographism can give unreliable results.
Medications– Allergy tests can give misleading results if conducted on people taking certain medications like heartburn medicines, anti-depressants, and antihistamines. Your doctor might feel that it would be better not to advise allergy testing and instead continue with the medication.
If skin tests are not possible, the doctor might advise blood tests like in vitro immunoglobin E antibody tests to detect allergen except for penicillin allergy.
Skin test or blood test?
The doctor examines the patient and, by considering the symptoms and signs and medical history, decides whether to conduct skin or blood tests for allergies. Allergies caused by air borne substances like pet dander, pollen, and dust mites are easily detectable through skin tests, and blood tests are effective for diagnosing food allergies.
However, additional tests might be necessary to detect food allergies as these are quite complex.