Finding out that you need to have an allergy test done can be upsetting, especially if you are particularly apprehensive about medical procedures. Your best bet to making the most out of it is going to be in educating yourself on the process of the allergy test. As you learn about the different options, one of the most common questions is: which allergy test is most accurate? In short, all of them are accurate, but the actual results will vary depending on a lot of personal features.
Your allergy test options
The main kinds of allergy tests are below. All three of these are professionally administered and/or designed to give you accurate and safe results on the other end. Other methods such as self-testing (i.e., experimenting by eating the suspected allergen) are not considered professional methods and should be avoided.
- Skin prick test: This is the same technique that has been used for years. It involves injecting a grid of common allergens under the skin and watching for a raised welt to appear. The raised welts will determine the allergy that you have.
- Blood sample test: An at-home option, this will offer finger prick testing where you apply finger prick amounts of blood to a card and then send it off for analysis and testing against common allergens.
- Hair sample test: This is similar to the above option, except it relies on hair and root samples to be tested against the allergens in a lab. This is often preferred for those that are squeamish with blood.
So, which allergy test is most accurate?
Now that you’re up to date on your options let’s take a look at which allergy test is most accurate for you and your needs.
- Food allergies: If you are being tested specifically for a food allergy, it’s a common belief that the skin prick test doesn’t always help. It doesn’t always show up a positive result with known food allergens, and sometimes it can even show up false positives as well. With a food allergy specifically, a hair or blood sample test might be recommended.
- Non-food allergies: For those being tested for a wide variety of non-food allergens, a skin prick test is a great option to consider. However, a blood and hair sample test is also still great options that you can consider doing from the comfort of your own home, which can be preferred.
There are a few other details to keep in mind when choosing which allergy test is most accurate for you. The first is any skin sensitivities and medications that could interact with the results of a skin prick test. Another detail to think about is your own preferences for testing location and method. If you are uncomfortable with blood, a hair sample or skin prick test might be best. If you are apprehensive in a typical lab environment, the blood and hair sample test can be done at home where it’s more comfortable. While test accuracy is determined by kind the kind of allergen you are testing for, personal comfortable also plays a role in what is the best option for you.