Allergy Testing in Babies
Allergy testing is common in those babies that come from parents with certain common allergies, or babies that show a general intolerance to certain things by way of reactions like swelling and redness. If you are going to take your baby in for allergy testing, you should know which types of tests might be performed and why a doctor would choose to perform that particular test. Allergy testing can mean a safer, happy baby for you.
The prick test is the most common type of allergy test. It involves the person administering the test placing small drops of known allergens like peanuts, wheat and eggs and then scratching or pricking the skin to see if there is a reaction. The test areas are numbered for accuracy, and then the reactions are observed and recorded. The prick test is administered for small babies, but it may not be as accurate as other testing methods. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends prick testing at any age.
Intradermal Skin Test
The intradermal skin skin test has much of the same procedures as the prick test, but instead of merely scratching or pricking the skin, the allergen is actually injected underneath the skin. While it often obtains more accurate results, it can be a little more painful and generally not done on very young babies. However, if the prick test is inconclusive, an intradermal skin may be administered for more accurate results. As a parent, if the prick test comes back that your child is not allergic to anything, yet he is still showing symptoms, it may be a good idea to request an intradermal skin test instead.
The radioallergosorbent test is the most complicated of all of the allergy testing methods for babies. It is a blood test in which blood is drawn and then checked for antibodies against common allergens, suggesting that the blood and body is fighting those allergens. This can yield very specific results, but the results can take up to two weeks to receive, so skin testing is generally done instead. However, if a health care provider has indicated that your baby is allergic to nuts, and you want to know more specific details, you might request a radioallergosorbent test to be done.