Allergy Skin Testing Vs Allergy Blood Testing

Deciding which type of testing to have done to determine your allergies can be a difficult decision for some. Let’s take a look at why skin testing is the preferred method of testing at Atlantic Ear, Nose, and Throat.


While some may be quick to assume that blood work is more accurate, this couldn’t be further from the truth in regard to allergy testing. With the blood test, the presence of an antibody protein called IgE is used to detect a positive allergy. This works well if the patient has been exposed to the allergen within a recent time period, allowing those antibodies to be present in the blood. However, if the patient has not been recently exposed to each of the items being tested for, the antibodies may not be present in the blood, resulting in a false negative. With skin testing, the body is individually exposed to each and every allergen, allowing a reaction to present itself almost immediately, ultimately providing a much more accurate reading.


As with any blood work, it takes time to receive the results. In a best case scenario, the lab will send the results to the patient’s doctor’s office within 2-3 days. After the office receives the results, the patient will need to come in for a follow-up visit to discuss the results with the ordering physician as these labs are usually not discussed over the phone. Skin testing, however, is done in the office and the results are immediate. Within the time it takes to complete the test, the patient will have all results before leaving the office. This allows for less visits and more efficient care for the patient, often jump-starting a treatment plan to get them feeling better sooner.


Skin testing is much more affordable in comparison to having lab work done! Allergy blood work can be very expensive, depending on the patient’s insurance and the amount of items being tested for.

At Atlantic Ear, Nose & Throat, skin testing is always the preferred method for diagnosing allergies. While blood testing is certainly an available option for those that cannot have skin testing done for specific reasons, we always urge the patient to have the testing done in-office whenever possible!


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