Top 4 Testing Options When You Suspect Allergies

It has become common in the last couple of decades for clients to be diagnosed with allergies.  The rise in antibiotic use, C-section births, food additives, immune and endocrine compromising agents in our environment have contributed to more widespread allergic and atopic conditions.

An important part of being able to combat the rise in allergies and atopic conditions is:

  1. Confirming that a client’s symptoms are caused by allergy
  2. Identifying the offending allergen
Testing is a huge and important part of addressing these two factors.  Here are some of the ways that you can test your client and find out if they have allergies and what they are allergic to:
Skin scratch test (Astier 2022)

1. Total IgE Testing

This test measures the amount of Immunoglobulin E (IgE) in a patient’s blood sample.  IgE is the immunoglobulin involved in allergic and atopic reactions.

Elevations in this immunoglobulin are an indicator that your client may have allergies.  This test does not tell us what our client is allergic to.  But it does show us that there is likely allergic responses occurring.

This test can be referred by natural medicine practitioners.

2. Skin Testing

There are a couple of different methods available for allergy skin testing.  Some of the most widely used are:

  • Intradermal testing
  • Patch testing
  • Prick puncture/scratch testing

These tests rely on the active bound IgE response to specific allergens.  In the test, we are looking for wheal and flare responses on the skin. These tests are great for getting a definitive response.  However they are time consuming and clients may be more prone to severe allergic responses (particularly to intradermal testing).

These tests are referred and performed by GPs and specialists.  They cannot be referred by a natural medicine practitioner.

3. RAST/Specific IgE Testing

This form of testing relies on free IgE to react to allergens in a blood sample.

In this form of testing you can choose specific allergens to test and mixes of allergens.  This test only requires a blood sample from the client.  This test is not relying on reactions from the client.

This is a safer more comfortable option for your client if you are concerned about discomfort or the risk of anaphylaxis in skin testing.

This test can be referred by natural medicine practitioners.

An oral food challenge test

4. Oral Food/Drug Challenge

This is a specific test used for clients with allergic dermatitis symptoms.  The client is given specific suspected foods or medication in the specialist’s office under supervision.

The client is then assessed for initial skin responses, skin responses after 24 hours and sometimes responses after 48 hours.

This is a very specific test and is usually performed by a dermatologist.  Anaphylaxis is rare in this form of testing as it is specific to clients with skin conditions.

This test cannot be performed by a natural medicine practitioner when trying to assess for allergies.  Referral to a GP or dermatologist is required.

If you are interested in learning more about Allergy testing, we now have an Allergy Testing Webinar available in our course catalogue.

Happy Learning 🙂