Allergy Services


Birmingham Allergy Center

Southern ENT is proud to offer allergy testing for a wide range of inhalant and food allergens.

The initial step in the treatment of an allergy is an accurate diagnosis of the source of recurrent symptoms. It involves deciding whether the patient’s symptoms are caused by an allergy and, if so, determining what triggers the allergy as accurately as possible. The resulting diagnosis will target the appropriate treatment or clinical intervention to allow avoidance of the allergic trigger which will help to eliminate or minimize symptoms.

An accurate diagnosis is obtained using a combination of approaches and tests that can include skin-pricks and blood tests to identify and confirm a diagnosis.

 

Allergy Testing

The first step to allergy treatment is identifying the specific allergen responsible for the symptoms.

MODIFIED QUANTITATIVE TESTING (MQT)

Skin Prick

First described in 1926, this type of testing is the most common method used worldwide. This is an excellent screening tool for the presence or absence of allergy to individual allergens. A multiple-prick device is used that holds each allergen in small tines to be introduced into the epidermis of the skin. Measurement of the skin reaction to each allergen is done after 10-20 minutes.

Intradermal Testing (IDT)

Following skin prick testing, IDT is performed to determine the degree of hypersensitivity to specific allergens. This type of testing begins with injecting very dilute concentrations of antigen into the dermis of the skin (intradermal), then progressively administering more concentrated allergens until a specific response if obtained. Responses are measured by size of reaction on the skin. This allows for the detection of very low degrees of allergy in a very safe way.

The information obtained during MQT can be used to determine what level of specific allergens should be used to start allergy immunotherapy.

Important: 

Certain medications must be stopped prior to Allergy testing as they can interfere with results. Also, please let your doctor know if you are taking a Beta Blocker prior to testing.

Click Here to see a list of medications and time periods to stop before testing.

 

RAST testing

This blood test was developed in 1970 as a method to assess allergen-specific antibodies in the serum. While less specific than MQT, there are some advantages to this type of testing. Advantages include:

  • Can be used safely in patients who are taking Beta-blockers or antihistamines
  • Can be used safely in patients with certain skin conditions that can affect skin testing
  • Numerous allergens can be tested with a single serum sample

Ask your doctor which testing may be right for you!