Skin testing is a very reliable method of determining the kind, as well as the degree, of sensitivity to an inhaled allergen. Intradermal or scratch tests should be performed in three sessions, one session each week, as it is not advisable to perform more than ten of them each time. A possible schedule of testing might look like the one indicated here.

First session     Second session     Third session

Trees     Silk     Alternaria

Grasses     Feathers     Aspergillus

Plantain     Dog Hair     Penicillium

Ragweed     Goat Hair     Hormodendron

Dust     Horse Hair     Kapok

Tobacco     Horse Serum     Cottonseed

Pyrethrum     Cat Hair     Flaxseed

Orris Root     Rabbit Hair

The above tests are to be repeated in different dilutions because the intensity of the reaction to each dilution determines the treatment. A very sensitive child classified as AA can tolerate a much smaller quantity of desensitizing material than someone who has been classified as À, Â, Ñ, or D. However, even though testing in different dilutions is a good guide to the strength of the solution to be used in desensitization, it does not indicate the actual amount of discomfort that the allergic child may be suffering.

During skin testing, some highly sensitive children may get hives or shock. If this happens, the doctor should place a tourniquet on the arm above the site of the test (in order to delay the absorption of the testing material) and inject adrenalin in the testing area. This injection may have to be repeated in half an hour.

Skin testing for foods has limited value in the diagnosis of a food allergy. Consequently, many allergists skip these tests altogether. They rely instead on an accurate history and elimination diets. Those who do tests for foods find that intradermal tests are more accurate than scratch tests, but the possibility of severe anaphylactic reactions while testing for shellfish, nuts, and strawberries are possible.


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April 23, 2009 · Posted in Allergies  


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