Is Conventional Testing Important?

Conventional testing of allergies remains an important part of any workup in a patient. Most of my patients have already been tested before they come to see me. I just review the testing to ensure that they have been tested correctly. Allergy testing can confirm a reaction to clinically suspected allergens.

If you do undergo allergy testing—and I highly recommend that you do—here are the main points to keep in mind:

  • Percutaneous testing should be done first.
  • Intradermal testing should be done on anyone over thirty or on anyone who tested negative to the percutaneous test, especially if the allergen is highly suspicious.
  • Percutaneous and intradermal testing must be performed and interpreted by an experienced practitioner.
  • In vitro antibody testing (RAST) gives little useful information, so I recommend that you not have it done.
  • If something tests positive, then do everything you can to avoid it—even if it means drastic changes in your life.

Despite their importance in helping to diagnose your problem, these conventional tests usually show positive for the same things in most patients: molds, dust, grasses, pollens, and cats. I would say that most patients have had these tests and have been found to be positive to at least one of those five things. That information never did them any good.

While it is true that most of us are allergic to these things, there is something missing in the diagnostic process. I have seen too many patients who eliminate these things from their environment, and still suffer.