Allergies are the underlying cause for a variety of conditions and symptoms including shortness of breath, rashes, coughs, and digestive problems. At the Firshein Center, you will be thoroughly tested for food and environmental allergies and sensitivities utilizing a blood test called as RAST (Radioabsorbant allergy testing) and through skin-prick tests, or multi-tests. Each of these tests offers an advance. Both approaches are distinctive and together will uncover hidden sources of food and environmental irritants for your body. After being tested, Dr. Firshein will design a customized program to help desensitize you to these allergens.
RAST (Radioabsorbant) testing is a simple blood test that looks for Allergen-Specific Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. IgE antibodies are proteins in the blood that bind to allergens as part of an allergic reaction. Measuring these specific allergen antibodies may aid in the diagnosis of asthma, allergies, and other pulmonary disorders. This test may also be helpful in monitoring immunotherapy (desensitization) or to see if a child has outgrown an allergy.
The skin prick or scratch test is typically done on the back or the back of the arm, depending on the number of allergens being tested. If a person is being tested for several allergens, a grid may be used to separate the different substances from each other and keep track of them. A few drops of the purified allergen are gently pricked on to the skin’s surface. If the skin develops a red, raised itchy area, it usually means the person is allergic to that specific allergen. A reaction can usually be seen within 15 minutes of the scratch test. This test is a simple, effective method of identifying allergies to things such as pet dander, dust, pollen, foods or dust mites.