What is Allergy Testing?
There are several types of allergy tests, but most commonly allergy testing aims to detect IgE antibodies against specific allergens. IgE mediated allergies are often central to conditions such as:
- rhinitis / hay fever / sinusitis
- food allergy
- acute urticaria and angioedema
- atopic dermatitis
- insect venom allergy, latex allergy and some drug allergies.
- foods (egg, cow's milk, peanuts, etc),
- air borne allergens (dust mite, cat and dog dander, pollens, etc)
- other (insect venoms, medicines, etc).
It is important to understand that testing confirms / refutes sensitization (the presence of antibodies). The result must be combined with a clinical assessment to reach an useful diagnosis: ie what is causing a patient's symptoms?
IgE antibodies can be detected by Blood testing (RAST), or Skin prick testing (SPT). Both tests provide good information and the choice comes down to factors such as type of allergy, convenience, cost, practice organization, and infrastructure.
Testing for Aeroallergens
Aeroallergens are important in respiratory allergies such as rhinitis, hay fever, sinusitis, and asthma. Blood testing (RAST) and SPT both provide good information for decision making. SPT is available at East Ringwood Clinic for most common aeroallergens including House Dust Mite, grass pollen, tree pollen, dog, cat, and moulds. Blood testing (RAST) is available for more unusual allergens, and for technical circumstances in which a blood test may be preferable to SPT.
Testing for Food Allergens
Blood testing (RAST) is useful in confirming a suspected food allergy, however it is not reliable enough to fully exclude a food allergy where clinical suspicion exists. SPT is a preferable test to refute suspected food allergies and / or determine if a patient is ready for a challenge (ie try a food to which they were previously allergic). Depending on the clinical circumstances, patients may be referred for:
- Blood Testing (RAST)
- Skin Prick Testing
- Allergist consultation
Referral to an allergist typically occurs for:
- Complex patients with multiple allergic disorders
- Risk of future anaphylaxis / Epipen required
- Testing is required for a large number of allergens
- A food challenge is likely to be required some time in the future
Booking an appointment.
- The consultation is billed at usual clinic rates.
- The SPT is bulk billed.