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How Do Doctors Test for Allergies?

The doctor suspects that my son has allergies and recommended that we get him tested. What kind of tests should we expect?
Polly

The two main types of allergy tests are skin tests and blood tests. In a skin test, a very small amount of an allergen is placed underneath the skin. If the area swells up and becomes red (like a mosquito bite), the test is said to be positive, meaning that the child might be allergic to that substance.

A blood test (sometimes called a RAST test) may be used if your child is extremely sensitive to certain allergens, has uncontrolled asthma, or has a skin condition that does not allow a skin test to be performed. Talk to your doctor or allergist about the specific test that will be done.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: May 2009

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