How are allergies diagnosed?

Allergy skin testing can be used to identify the allergens that are causing your symptoms. The test is performed by pricking your skin with an extract of an allergen and then evaluating the skin’s reaction. If a skin test cannot be performed, a blood test to diagnose your allergies can be performed. The blood test can identify allergy antibodies in the bloodstream produced by the immune system. Elevated levels of these antibodies can diagnose particular allergies, but this test is less sensitive than skin testing and for this reason is not preferred.

If you experience allergic symptoms that last longer than a week or two and tend to recur, especially if they interfere with desired activities (e.g., exercising outdoors, work, school, a good night’s sleep), you may benefit from evaluation and management by a board-certified Allergy/Immunology physician.

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