An allergy (read more about allergies) is an abnormal response of a person’s immune system to things that are harmless to most people. There are many different methods of detecting allergies. The doctor may diagnose allergies using one or more methods depending on symptoms. Allergy testing is done to find out what substances cause an allergic reaction.
Mentioned below are few methods for diagnosing allergies:
- Cytotoxic Allergy Testing – In this test allergens are mixed with the person’s white blood cells. If white blood cells begin to degenerate then it means that the person has an allergy to the substance. There have been a lot of criticisms on its accuracy.
- ELISA (Enzyme Linked Immunosorbant Assay) Allergy Testing – This method is carried out in a laboratory using a pinprick of blood. The blood sample is diluted and placed on a plate with various food antigens located in wells. After several procedures, the plate is checked by computer to see if food antibodies have bound to the antigens.
- Intra-dermal Allergy Skin Testing – It is a costly and painful procedure. In this test, the size of the swelling in response to an allergen is measured. If there is increase in size of swelling then it means that the person is allergic to the substance.
- Kinesiology Allergy Testing – In this test, the substance is placed either in the mouth or on the body and the response of one or more muscles is assessed. It can be extremely accurate, but does depend heavily on the knowledge and skill of the practitioner.
- Allergy Patch Testing – In this test, a strip of adhesive with various samples attached to it is placed on the patient’s back for 48 hours. When the strip is removed, if there is any raised, reddened or blistered areas then it means that the person is allergic to the substance.
- Allergy Pulse Testing – In this test, the pulse is taken at regular intervals before and after meals, on waking and on going to bed. The food items are tested and a pulse reading is taken. It may not give accurate results if the person has a lot of allergies.
- Radionic Allergy Testing – In this test, a sample is taken from the person, usually hair sample. They use such samples to gain knowledge about substances which lead to allergy. The results of the test vary according to the skill and knowledge of individual practitioners.
- RAST Testing – RAST stands for Radio Allergo-Sorbent Test. In this test, allergens are mixed with the person’s blood. It is used when a skin test would be difficult to perform or where exposing the patient to an allergen might be unnecessarily risky. A positive test result indicates that the body has produced antibodies to an allergen.
- Skin Prick Allergy Testing (SPT) – In this test, a drop of the suspected allergen is placed on the skin, usually the forearm through a small hole and the reaction is then monitored. If there is swelling of skin or skin becomes red, then it means that person is allergic to the substance. It may not give accurate results.
- Allergy Scratch Testing – Skin Test is a very common test that can be done in doctor’s office. It shows the results usually within the hour. In this test, the allergen is placed on the skin and is worked into it by using a tool to help it get into the skin. If there is swelling or irritation of skin, it means that a person is allergic to that substance.
- Electroacupuncture According to Voll (EAV) Allergy Testing – This test is designed to measure the skin’s electrical activity. It is considered to be a pseudo scientific method and the device used to detect allergic senstivity using skin conductvitiy is not approved by the FDA
Listed below are some clinical trials investigating new treatments for Allergies.