Testing for allergy.
Allergy diagnosis depends primarily on the clinical history; the history, aided by a physical examination, guides objective tests of IgE sensitivity. Either skin tests or allergen-specific serum IgE measurements (RAST) are used to focus on whether the patient is allergic, whether allergy contributes to the symptoms and what the relevant allergens are. A positive history and positive tests help in rationalising treatment, initiating specific allergen avoidance measures and selecting appropriate immunotherapy. Tests include skin-prick testing, blood tests, multi-allergen IgE antibody screening assays, mast cell tryptase and CAST testing.
Many of the allergy 'diagnostic' tests performed by ecologists and alternative practitioners are of unproven value, time consuming and expensive. These are not to be recommended. This list includes neutralisation provocation (Miller) tests, hair analysis, ALCAT and IgG measurements.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||Editor's Choice|
|Publication:||South African Medical Journal|
|Article Type:||Brief article|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2009|
|Previous Article:||McCord Hospital: a century of footprints on the sands of time.|
|Next Article:||Deviance and medicines regulation.|