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Allergy Skin Testing
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My brother (26 y/o) recently had skin testing for allergies and they came back all negative except a for a very mild allergy to ragweed. But the thing is he has classic allergy symptoms -- runny nose, itchy eyes/ears, postnasal drip, etc. Symptoms are worse in the summer and he has had asthma since he was a kid. I realize skin testing does nothing to test for celiac (my bro is currently gluten-free or at least very gluten-lite: he has not been diagnosed with Celiac but is trying gluten-free to see if it helps with symptoms.) but we were just hoping he could find out what he was allergic to and maybe get allergy shots to eventually help with allergy symptoms.

Does anyone know how accurate skin testing is and if there are any other tests? It was quite a shock that he came back virtually negative to everything. I have similar symptoms and take year round allergy meds but I have never been tested for allergies. I unfortunately have not seen much an improvement with my asthma/allergies since going gluten-free but thankfully I am not too troubled by any severe symptoms. My brother seems to have worse symptoms. He did not go gluten-free specifically for nasal allergies but mostly because I tested positive for Celiac and because of some other problems he's been having.

So I guess my main questions are about the validity of skin testing for allergies and whether anyone has any other general advice on the diagnosis and/or treatment of environmental allergies.

Thanks!

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There are several kinds of responses and my understanding is that the skin pricks are testing for a specific immediate response (IgE). I seem to remember my allergist explaining that the skin tests wouldn't help with delayed reactions (IgG). I think there are some blood tests you can get for IgG alleriges - maybe someone will chime in with more info on that. My skin tests were negative but the next I was horribly sick (maybe just from all the testing) and the wheat spot was horribly itchy.

Here is a good article:

http://www.greatplainslaboratory.com/foodallergy.html

My allergy symptoms cleared when I eliminated soy and now when I'm exposed to soy my sinuses puff right up. I know quite a few people who've had similar experiences.

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My son was recently screened for allergies by his primary care Dr.(my request) via blood test and a few things showed up so she recommended a visit to an allergist. When I showed the allergist the blood work, said she would include it in his file only because I brought it in and that she wanted to see the skin test results which are a better indication. In her practice they first do the skin test and then whatever you don't react to they inject under the skin on the shoulder/upper arm. His blood test only checked for about 10 things and not all the major allergens. Some were environmental and some were foods. They were listed according to classes 0 being nothing and 6 being the highest. We have an appointment this week so it'll be interesting. His blood test showed class 2 for wheat and nut and class 1 for soy.

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Alex,

I wonder the same thing. I had allergy skin testing done 2 years ago by an allergist/immunologist. He did over 40 skin pricks over 2 visits. Some foods, some environmental.

The result was that I was negative to all foods, positive for cats and highly positive for dust mites. It was interestiing because I have very strong seasonal allergies that require meds and at the time of the testing had eczema.

I asked him about blood testing for delayed allergies (sensitivites), but he felt they resulted in too many false positives.

From my own experience, the skin prick testing did not tell me which things caused my symptoms. I was given a prescription for Zyrtec and told to use allergy proof covers on my mattress and pillows (the latter helped immensely). He also had me do an elimination diet for my food sensitivities--I add this only because it turned out that legumes were causing my eczema. Since I cut them out 2 years ago, I have not had the eczema return--prior to this, I had it for 12 years.

Hope your brother gets things sorted out :)

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I have had skin pricks, blood testing and intradermal (little shots under the skin). For me the intradermal was the most accurate.

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I have had skin pricks, blood testing and intradermal (little shots under the skin). For me the intradermal was the most accurate.

I went to an allergist who specailizes in food allergies. He started with the skin pricks, and then did intradermal for anything I scored a 0 or 1 on the skin pricks. The way they explained it is the skin prick is a very small amount of the allergen, so if you react a lot to that, they dont want to inject any in you - but not reacting to the scratch itself doesnt mean you dont have an allergy.

I was tested for tons of foods and inhalants and reacted to almost everything ...

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Thanks so much for the input everyone! I'm disappointed that the allergist didn't try the intradermal testing when the skin tests were negative since my brother has such classical allergy symptoms. Perhaps an elimination diet or food journal are in order in case there are any foods causing the symptoms. I wish there was just an easy, reliable blood test or something. But at least there's allergy meds to give him some relief!

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