Allergy Testing

If you’re experiencing congestion, sneezing, rashes or other irritating symptoms, you may have allergies. At Charleston ENT & Allergy, our providers can perform allergy tests to determine if this is the cause of your condition and help you enjoy life more with the aid of specialized allergy management and treatment.

What Is an Allergy Test?

Allergists and ENTs perform tests to see if your immune system overreacts to substances known as allergens and, if so, which ones affect you. People can be allergic to pollen, mold, certain foods, medications and insect stings.

The arm of a patient receiving an allergy test. There is a numbered grid with dots of liquid on it and a gloved hand adding further drops using a syringe.
  • Skin Prick Testing: Your ENT will use a needle to prick the skin of your forearm or back with possible allergens. Alternatively, they may put droplets of allergens on your skin and lightly puncture the area. Potential reactions include redness, raised skin or round spots. This test can determine airborne, food or penicillin allergies.
  • Intradermal Test: These tests are often used when skin prick tests are inconclusive or negative. Your ENT will inject small amounts of allergens into the epidermis or the outer layer of your skin.
  • Patch Test: Your doctor will put drops of an allergen onto your arm and cover the area with a bandage. You’ll leave the bandage on and return to our office within several days. Your provider will then remove the bandage to check for a reaction. This test is effective at determining the causes of contact dermatitis.
  • Blood Test: Your provider will take a blood sample and send it to a laboratory, where allergens are added to it. Lab staff will put allergens in the blood sample and measure the level of IgE antibodies. Blood allergy tests are susceptible to a higher rate of false-positive results.
  • Challenge Test: Under direct supervision from your doctor, you will swallow a small amount of a suspected allergen to see how you react. This test determines food or drug allergies and should only be done with medical supervision.

Pulmonary Function Tests

These tests measure how your lungs are working and are often completed in addition to allergy tests. They include:

  • Spirometry, which measures the amount of air you breathe in and out by breathing into a machine.
  • Plethysmography, which measures your lung volume, or the amount of gas in your lungs, by having you stand in a small booth and breathe into a mouthpiece.
  • Diffusion capacity test, which evaluates how well the small air sacs within your lungs work by having you breathe in certain gases and breathing out into a machine.

How Can I Get an Allergy Test?

If you’re experiencing symptoms of allergies, our team at Charleston ENT & Allergy can help you determine what’s causing them. Our provider will determine which test is the most appropriate for you and will use the results to develop a customized treatment plan based on your needs and lifestyle.

Getting an allergy test is the first step to seeking treatment for your symptoms. We’re here to guide you through the process.