Common Allergy Tests
How are allergies diagnosed?
- Thorough history and physical examination
- Allergen prick skin testing
When indicated the following tests may be performed:
- Laboratory testing
- Pulmonary function testing
- Exercise challenge with pulmonary function testing
- Challenges to foods or medications
The evaluation of a child with a suspected allergic disorder at Children's Hospital begins with a comprehensive history that includes a thorough review of the child's symptoms, past medical history and family medical history. This is followed by a thorough physical examination. If the symptoms occur within minutes to a couple of hours after exposure to an allergen and the history is suggestive of an immediate allergic reaction, allergen prick skin testing is performed. As a result, it is important that medications such as antihistamines that might interfere with skin testing are stopped several days before the appointment.
We are thorough, but conservative in regard to the number of skin tests performed. We realize that children are often frightened by medical procedures such as skin testing and blood drawing and take every precaution to minimize their discomfort during these procedures. We are fortunate to have an excellent, sympathetic staff with extensive experience in working with children in these situations. As with skin testing, decisions regarding further testing are individualized, based upon the needs of the patient.