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From Nemours' KidsHealth
- Asthma Basics
- Managing Asthma
- Do Allergies Cause Asthma?
- Asthma and Sports Special Needs Factsheet
- Asthma: Exercise-Induced Asthma Special Needs Factsheet
- Bug Bites and Stings
- Asthma Special Needs Factsheet
- Nut and Peanut Allergy
- Immune System
- Food Allergies
- All About Allergies
- How Do Doctors Test for Allergies?
- Serious Allergic Reactions (Anaphylaxis)
- Seasonal Allergies (Hay Fever)
- Hives (Urticaria)
- How Do Doctors Test for Food Allergies?
- What Is Skin Testing for Allergies?
- Wheat Allergy
- Shellfish Allergy
- Going to School With Food Allergies
- Food Allergies Special Needs Factsheet
- Fish Allergy
- Celiac Disease
- Can Kids Get Allergies All Year?
- Egg Allergy
- Allergy Shots
- First Aid: Allergic Reactions
- Environmental Control Measures
Trusted External Resources
How Do Doctors Test for Allergies?
The doctor suspects that my son has allergies and recommended that we get him tested. What kind of tests should we expect?
The two main types of allergy tests are skin tests and blood tests:
- A skin test (also called a scratch test) is the most common allergy test. With this test, the doctor or nurse will put a tiny bit of an allergen (like pollen or food) on the skin, then prick the outer layer of skin or make a small scratch on the skin. If the area swells up and becomes red (like a mosquito bite), the test is said to be positive, meaning that the child is allergic to that substance. Skin testing allows the doctor to see within about 15 minutes if a child is allergic to the substances tested.
- A blood test may be used if a skin test can't be done. It takes a few days to get the results of blood tests.
Talk to your doctor or allergist about the specific test that will be done.
Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: April 2015