Get Clarity on Your Allergic Reactions!

Allergy Testing in St. Louis, Missouri

If you’re dealing with an unknown allergy, board-certified allergist Dr. Sonia Cajigal can help you get to the bottom of it. Learn about the different types of allergy testing available here at St. Louis Family Allergy, including skin testing, blood testing, and food and drug challenges. Schedule your visit today!


“Dr. Cajigal was friendly, professional, and informative. She took the time to explain the tests and what was going on with my allergies. She is so knowledgeable and really cared about how I was feeling. I would highly recommend this practice if you suffer from allergies and asthma.”

– Sue D, July 2020

Allergy Testing Provider Dr. Sonia Cajigal of St. Louis Family Allergy in St. Louis, Missouri
Allergist Dr. Sonia Cajigal of St. Louis Family Allergy review badges and affiliations
About Allergy Testing

Skin Testing

Blood Testing

Spirometry

Food Challenges

Drug Challenges

Nasal Provocation

Skin Testing

Skin testing is the primary diagnostic technique for many types of allergies including allergic rhinitis, food allergies, allergic asthma, allergic conjunctivitis, drug allergies, and insect allergies. Skin testing is preferred because it can be done right here in the office, provides fast results, and is generally inexpensive. Skin prick / puncture testing is often the initial testing method, and intradermal testing may be used as a follow up method if a false negative is suspected from the prick / puncture test. Patch testing is the third skin testing method that’s useful for evaluating multiple allergens simultaneously and detecting the source of delayed skin reactions.

Note: If you have an upcoming skin test, be sure to discontinue antihistamines for 5 days prior to your visit with St. Louis Family Allergy. Decongestants without antihistamines may be taken. Please contact our office if you have any questions.

Prick / Puncture Test

Skin prick testing consists of applying liquid droplets of concentrated allergen extract to the surface of the forearm or upper back and pricking a tiny needle through each drop on the surface of the skin. Control pricks without allergen extract are also made for comparison. After 20 minutes, the skin is re-examined for any raised and red bumps called wheals. The size of the wheals containing allergen extract are compared to the size of the controls to determine if an allergy is present.

Intradermal Test

Intradermal testing consists of injecting a small amount of allergen extract directly under the surface of the skin through a needle. A negative control without any allergen extract is also injected for comparison purposes. Similar to prick / puncture testing, the size of the wheals containing allergen extract are compared to the size of the controls to determine if an allergy is present. Intradermal tests can better detect weaker allergic responses, and are therefore useful as a confirmatory follow up to negative prick / puncture tests. Though more sensitive, intradermal tests are also more likely to trigger more severe, systemic allergic reactions. For this reason, intradermal testing is typically not advised when testing for food allergies or latex allergies.

Patch Test

Patch testing is primarily used to understand if skin allergies are due to contact with something in your home or work environment and are typically used on patients who may have allergic contact dermatitis or delayed skin reactions. Very small chambers containing different potential allergens are taped to a patient’s back for several days to see what skin reactions occur. Chambers may contain a variety of substances, including metals, rubbers, fragrances, preservatives, and sometimes medications. Localized patches of inflammation appear within 2 to 4 days, or even up to a week, if a skin allergy is present.
Personalized Allergy Testing

in St. Louis, Missouri

Skin allergy testing

Blood Testing

Blood tests can help identify allergies to foods, pollen, mold, pet dander, dust mites, medicines, and insect stings. Blood tests are typically used when a skin test reaction is considered too risky or when a skin test result must be confirmed due to a suspected false positive or false negative. Blood tests measure the immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody levels in the blood, which are elevated after an allergic reaction.

Blood tests may be the primary test of choice for you if:

  • Dr. Cajigal suspects that skin testing may cause you to have a severe allergic reaction.
  • Skin testing is too risky due to a medication that you’re taking that interferes with skin testing.
  • Your skin is easily irritated as a result of a severe skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis.
Personalized Allergy Testing

in St. Louis, Missouri

Doctor doing blood draw for allergy testing

Spirometry (Lung Function)

Spirometry is a common test used to understand lung function in individuals with asthma. A spirometer is a small instrument that measures how much air you can breathe in and out. During spirometry testing, you inhale deeply and exhale as forcefully and quickly as possible over several trials while the spirometer records your lung function. Spirometry is used both as an initial diagnostic and during routine visits to your allergist to monitor how well different asthma treatments are working.

Personalized Allergy Testing

in St. Louis, Missouri

Spirometry lung function testing for asthma

Food Challenges

The food challenge is a common method for allergists to hone in on what foods you’re allergic to. During a food challenge appointment, Dr. Cajigal will prepare small samples of common food allergens based on your experience with food reactions, and have you consume them one by one under medical supervision to see if any of the foods cause an allergic reaction.

Another food allergy detection technique is the elimination diet, where your allergist will ask you to temporarily eliminate specific foods from your diet that are suspected allergens for 2 to 4 weeks. If your allergic symptoms disappear during this time, it is likely that one or more of the eliminated foods was the allergen.

Personalized Allergy Testing

in St. Louis, Missouri

Food challenge samples for food allergy testing

Drug Challenges

Similar to a food challenge, a drug challenge is done by having you take allergenic medications under medical supervision to see if an allergic reaction results.

Nasal Provocation Testing

Nasal provocation testing is a useful test to determine if you have allergic rhinitis or an allergy to certain types of pollen. Nasal provocation testing consists of applying different allergens to the mucous lining of the nose and observing how allergy symptoms develop, such as sneezing and watery eyes. Provocation testing is often reserved for when skin testing is negative or inconclusive, but symptoms are consistent with allergic rhinitis.

We hope you’ve found this information helpful. Get in touch with us at St. Louis Family Allergy to learn more about allergy testing! We’re looking forward to your visit.

References

[1] American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: https://acaai.org/
[2] Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: https://www.aafa.org/
More Specialties

Asthma

Drug Allergies

Eye Allergies

Food Allergies

Nasal Allergies

Skin Allergies

Allergy Shots

Allergy Testing

Biologic Therapy

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Visit Allergist Dr. Sonia Cajigal of St. Louis Family Allergy in St. Louis, Missouri

Allergist & Immunologist
Dr. Sonia Cajigal

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St. Louis Family Allergy Google review score badge
"Dr. Cajigal was friendly, professional, and informative. She took the time to explain the tests and what was going on with my allergies. She is so knowledgeable and really cared about how I was feeling. I would highly recommend this practice if you suffer from allergies and asthma."

- Sue D, July 2020

“Dr Cajigal is a great listener. She trusts her patients instead of treating them as if they are not the experts of their own bodies. I really appreciate that (many doctors do not have that quality). She also immediately treats the symptoms instead of waiting to see if things clear. I use her for my children and myself. We have never left her office feeling as if it was a waste of time.”

– Stephanie, August 2020

"Great Allergist!"

- Ann H, December 2018

"She is the best."

- Stephen W, June 2020

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