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How To Read Blood Test Results For Allergies

Broad Categories Of Allergy Tests Or Procedures

Allergy blood test | Allergy testing from blood test | Hypersensitivity testing | Allergenic test

1. Allergy Skin Testing

This is used to evaluate for suspected environmental or seasonal allergies, food allergy, stinging insect allergy, and certain drug/medication allergies. During skin testing the suspected allergen is placed on the skin and the test results are read after 15 minutes. An allergen is a substance that can cause an allergic reaction. There are 2 methods for skin testing: prick skin testing and intradermal skin testing.

Prick skin testing: Individual solutions containing the suspected allergens are placed on the skin using a prick device. The test results are available 15 minutes later.

Intradermal skin testing: Individual solutions containing the suspected allergens are placed just underneath the surface of the skin using a small needle. The test results are available 15 minutes later.

Your allergist will determine which specific type of skin test is required.

All test results are interpreted by your allergist.

How to prepare for Allergy Skin Testing:

  • Avoid all antihistamines and sleep aids that contain antihistamines for 5 days prior to your appointment. The reason for this is that antihistamines will block positive skin test results, thereby making the results unreliable.

2. Blood tests

Your allergist will determine if you require blood tests and these test results will be interpreted by your allergist while taking into consideration your medical history and other findings from your evaluation.

3. Spirometry

4. Food Challenges

6. Aspirin Desensitization

In Diagnosis Never Leave This Step Out

I am practical about diagnosing both conditions. Here at my clinic, we see many, many patients who are curious about gluten or have obvious symptoms that could be related to either celiac or gluten sensitivity. For those individuals, we utilize tests we feel are the current best on the market to give clarity to whether a gluten reaction is contributing to their ill-health.

With that said, we never fail to utilize an elimination diet where all the most common reactive foods are eliminated for a span of a few weeks and then reintroduced scientifically.

Dr. Amy Meyers says the single best way to determine if you have an issue with gluten is with an elimination diet.

I agree I cant tell you how many times an elimination diet has revealed a problem with gluten that a lab test has missed.

The Wrong Test Can Be A Waste Of Money

Allergy tests can cost a lot. A skin allergy test can cost $60 to $300. A blood test can cost $200 to $1,000. A blood test for food allergies can cost hundreds of dollars, and testing for chronic hives can cost thousands of dollars. Your health insurance may not cover the costs of these tests. And without a doctors exam, the test may not even tell you what is causing your symptoms or how to treat them.

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My Allergy Test Was Negative But I Continue To Have Symptoms What Else Could It Be

You could have an allergy-like condition that is not mediated by IgE for which there are no specific laboratory tests. You might have a genetic hypersensitivity problem, such as sensitivity to gluten with celiac disease or have an enzyme deficiency, such as a lactase deficiency causing lactose intolerance. It could also be another disease that is causing allergy-like symptoms. It is important to investigate your individual situation with your healthcare provider’s assistance. Test results alone cannot diagnose allergies, but rather confirm a diagnosis when circumstances suggest an allergy is likely. Results from any type of allergy test have to be interpreted along with your medical history by a healthcare practitioner who is trained to diagnose allergies specifically.

How To Interpret Results


The results of a food allergy test can be confusing for someone with no medical training. As food allergy tests become widely available, more and more people are having to interpret results for themselves.

Heres what the scoring system is like and what it means:

  • Values under 0.35 mean unlikely sensitization to the allergen.
  • Values between 0.35-0.69 mean doubtful significance.
  • Values between 0.70-3.49 mean there is a possibility.
  • Values between 3.50-17.49 mean a greater possibility.
  • Values between 17.50-49.99 mean very likely.
  • Values between 50.00-100.00 mean very high likelihood.
  • Values over 100.00 mean extremely likely.

The higher the number, the more likely it is that the food allergen is causing the allergy symptoms.

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About Blood Testing For Allergies

A blood test, also called a specific IgE test, is a powerful allergy diagnostic tool that measures the concentration of specific IgE antibodies in the blood. It can test for hundreds of allergic triggers, such as pollen, mold, food, and animal dander.â¯

Any detectable level of specific IgE indicates a sensitization to a specific allergen. Even a low level of sensitization may be significant if it is associated with symptoms when you are exposed to the specific allergen. The reverse may also be true. You may be sensitized to an allergen at any level. But if you donât have symptoms when exposed to the allergen, you are not clinically allergic.â¯The results of an allergy blood test, together with a detailed medical history and a physical examination, will help a healthcare provider develop a customized treatment plan for allergic symptoms.

How can blood testing help identify allergies?

Itâs vital to identify underlying allergic triggers. Track your symptoms.

Are you a healthcare provider looking for information on how to test your patients?

From ordering a specific IgE test to interpreting results, we have the resources you need to feel confident in your allergy diagnosis.

After An Allergy Test

After the test, you can expect:

  • If you have a skin prick test, your doctor will examine you for signs of an allergic reaction after 20 minutes. This should subside in 12 hours.
  • Patch tests require further visits at two and four days after they are applied.
  • The results of blood tests may take up to a week to be known.
  • An elimination and challenge diet may take many weeks to provide results.
  • An oral allergen challenge may require admission to an outpatient or inpatient clinic at a hospital.

False reactions can occur with any test, so results need to be assessed with your clinical symptoms. Once the offending allergen or allergens are confirmed, you should try to avoid or reduce exposure to them in future as directed by your clinical immunology/allergy specialist.

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Allergy Blood Test Specific Ige Vs Total Ige Testing

After a consultation, your allergy doctor may recommend either total IgE testing or specific IgE testing. Total IgE testing takes a measurement of the overall level of antibodies to determine if you have an allergy. While this type of allergy blood test is a good way to confirm a patient has an allergy, it wont specify the precise cause. In contrast, specific IgE testing identifies responses to individual allergens. A test could focus on a specific type of food, or a mix of common foods that typically affect patients.

Allergy blood tests are performed in combination with medical history analysis and a discussion about previous symptoms. In most cases, an allergist will expect a patients symptoms to suggest a particular allergy before administering a blood test. The allergy blood test can then be performed to confirm or deny the existence of an allergy. A positive result will be used to develop an appropriate treatment plan, whereas a negative result may require further investigation into the causes of your symptoms.

How Should You Begin To Discover If You Have A Problem


The first step, unfortunately, often involves trying to convince your doctor to perform blood testing. Our healthcare model doesnt like to pay for tests unless they are absolutely necessary, and if your doctor doesnt agree with your suspicion you may find yourself in the dilemma of not being permitted to find out if you have a gluten problem.

If you cannot convince your doctor, yet you are very suspicious and concerned, you can find a doctor like myself who can help you to get tested. It will be without the financial support of your insurance company, but the testing is not financially prohibitive for most.

If you are fortunate enough to have the backing of your doctor, the next step is to confirm that a full panel is being run and not a single test. As we discussed above, there is more than one piece of data required to make a diagnosis and you need to ensure you are receiving a complete analysis.

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What Are The Signs Of Atopy

The most common signs of allergic skin disease in dogs are redness and itching. In some cases, dogs may scratch themselves until their skin is raw, leading to more obvious skin lesions and secondary skin infections. These signs can be seen with any type of allergic skin disease: food allergy, flea allergy, or atopy. See the handout Inhalant Allergies in Dogs for more information on this allergy.

Ige Specific Blood And Skin Test Work Identically

Contributed by Anke Tillman

A RAST is a way of measuring the amount of IgE antibody in the blood stream made against a specific allergen. RAST tests and allergy skin tests give similar information. Both identify IgE antibody against materials you might be allergic to. RAST tests must be done by specific methods to be accurate and therefore must be sent to specific laboratories. RAST tests and skin tests each have their advantages and disadvantages. Skin tests may pick up some allergies that would be missed by RAST tests but skin tests have a small risk of precipitating an allergic reaction.

RAST tests report IgE made against specific foods in units known as KU/L. Higher levels indicate a higher chance you will have a reaction if you eat the food. Lower levels indicate a lower chance you will have a reaction.

Traditionally RAST TESTS have been reported as CLASS 0 to CLASS 5 or 6. Class 0 indicates no allergy. Class 5 or 6 indicates high allergy


The significance of a result varies with the degree of reaction on the test and with the food. For some foods the predictive value of the RAST test is very high, for others it is lower and not as clear cut as we would like it to be. At times, additional skin testing and in office challenges are required to clarify the significance of a test.

Examples of RAST test significance include:

Egg RAST greater than 7KU/L indicates a 98% chance one will react when eating eggs .

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Igg Food Allergy Test Accuracy Results Interpretation And Benefits

An allergy is usually known to occur when the natural defense mechanism of the body react to exposure of a certain foreign substance and tries to evacuate the same by sending out chemicals to defense against the foreign element. All people are known to have some or the other kind of allergy be it from dust, pollutants, food as well as any other substance.

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What Is An Ige Test


An IgE test is a blood test that detects circulating IgE. The test includes two types of test:

  • Testing for total IgE the total level of IgE in the blood.
  • Testing for specific IgE the level of specific IgE against a particular allergen.
  • Total IgE and specific IgE tests can be ordered at the same time or independently.

    IgE levels can be measured using one of several methods. The use of the radioallergosorbent test to measure IgE has been superseded by the use of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays , fluorescent enzyme immunoassays , and chemiluminescent immunoassays .

    IgE blood tests

    The colour of the top of the tube denotes what tests it is suitable for. In this case, the tube with the gold top is used for IgE tests.

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    How Are Ige Levels Reported

    The total IgE reference range depends on the age of the individual .

    The result of a specific IgE test is reported for a grouped allergen mix or an individual allergen. The table below shows how the results are typically rated and interpreted .

    Table. IgE level test ratings and interpretations
    Rating of specific IgE level Grade/Class
    VI Extremely likely

    This table shows arbitrary international reference figures. The actual reference range and grading vary with the laboratory and are based on the method used for the test, calibration, the age of the patient, and the type of allergens.

    When Is It Ordered

    One or more allergen-specific IgE antibody tests may be ordered when a person has signs or symptoms that suggest an allergy to one or more substances. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Hives
  • Itching and tingling in the mouth
  • Throat tightness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Abdominal pain or vomiting and diarrhea
  • A test may also be ordered occasionally to help evaluate the effectiveness of immunotherapy or to determine whether a child has outgrown an allergy.

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    How Are Ige Test Results Interpreted

    IgE test results should be carefully interpreted in the context of a patients presentation. High levels of total IgE can occur in allergic conditions, parasiticinfections, certain immune-related disorders, and malignancies.

    The sensitivity of specific IgE tests ranges from 60% to 95% and the specificity from 30% to 95%, depending upon the type of allergen and the age of the patient . There is a good predictive value for food , pollens and dust mites. Tests for some medicines, latex, moulds, and venom have poor sensitivity but greater specificity . Note:

    • A positive test result means sensitisation to an allergen.
    • The indicated level of IgE may not correlate with the extent or severity of symptoms when exposed to the allergen.
    • A normal level of IgE may not exclude allergic disorders.
    • A result may be misleading. False-positive and false-negative results can be due to cross-reactivity, the age of the patient, or the type and duration of exposure to the allergen.

    Further evaluation can be done by skin prick testing or by challenging the patient to a specific allergen in vivo.

    There Are Two Main Types Of Allergen Skin Testing Used To Help In The Evaluation Of Potential Allergies Skin Prick Testing And Intradermal Testing


    Skin prick testing is minimally invasive and involves pricking the outer surface of the skin with either a commercial allergen extract or the fresh allergen if needed. Intradermal testing is slightly more invasive and involves a small injection of a solution containing allergen that is placed just underneath the surface of the skin.

    These skin tests are done on areas of the body that generally contain a substantial number of allergy cells, such as the arm or the back, and they are read for results during your appointment about 15-20 minutes after being placed. At Allergenuity Health, we attempt to be as least invasive as possible while getting the information we need to best help you with your goals.

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    Rast Test Vs Skin Test

    Different kinds of allergy tests are available, but the most commonly used is a skin or pinprick test.

    In a skin test, small amounts of different allergens are placed on an individuals skin, usually with a pinprick. People who are allergic to these substances will develop itchy hives at these sites, while others without allergies will not.

    The differences between the skin test and the RAST or ELISA blood tests are as follows:

    • Speed of the procedure. Skin tests are faster than blood tests. A skin test can take place in the doctors office, but in a RAST or ELISA test, the medical professional must send a blood sample to a laboratory for testing.
    • Speed of results. Reactions to a skin test typically develop within 15 minutes, whereas it can take between a few days and 2 weeks to get the results of a RAST test.
    • Accuracy. Skin tests may be more sensitive than blood tests, though both methods are considered accurate for diagnosing allergies. It may be more difficult to interpret accurately skin test results on people with darker skin, and skin tests may be affected by medications while blood tests are not.
    • Safety. Although it is rare, a person can develop a serious reaction to an allergen used in a skin test. There is no risk of this with a blood test, such as RAST or ELISA.
    • Cost. A skin test costs less than a RAST or ELISA test to process, which may be a consideration for some people.

    What Happens During The Rast

    • You will have blood drawn at the lab. The amount needed will depend upon the number of foods being tested for.
    • The lab will send your blood sample out to be tested. Your allergist will call you to discuss the results as soon as they are available, usually in about two weeks.
    • The Food Allergy Clinic uses a specific type of RAST called ImmunoCAP, which has been studied more than others for its use in food allergy. ImmunoCAP allows Food Allergy Clinic allergists to compare your test results with known values and ranges that show the relative likelihood of a food allergy, which can help your allergist make a diagnosis.

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    How Is Allergy Testing Performed In Dogs

    Allergy testing in dogs can be performed using two techniques: intradermal skin testing or RAST testing. Each method has its own pros and cons.

    While intradermal skin testing has long been regarded as the ‘gold standard’ in determining the cause of atopic dermatitis, it is only performed by veterinary dermatologists. Dog owners seeking intradermal testing for their dogs must travel to a dermatologist, which may not be available to all pet owners . Additionally, intradermal skin testing requires your dog to be anesthetized. Large areas of your dogs coat must be shaved, in order to allow the injection sites to be monitored for a reaction.

    “RAST testing requires only a single blood sample.”

    In contrast, RAST testing requires only a single blood sample. This blood sample can be drawn by your regular veterinarian during a routine wellness visit. The blood sample is submitted to a reference laboratory for analysis. No sedation or anesthesia is needed, and your dog will not need to have hair shaved for this test.


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