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Why don't tests on my back work?
Wanne01 posted:
Long, long ago I FINALLY got an accurate allergy test from the injections in my arm. I had probably 2 full 8.5x11 pages filled with things. I got my immunotherapy injections (3 shots a week) after that and had no problems. I recently got test again because I wanted to get back on it and they did the testing on my back. I told them I was sceptical because I'd had 3 other tests done on my back with ZERO results showing it was allergic to anything. So I get the test done and she tells me I had no reaction.

I told her I could rattle 10 things off off the top of my head that send me through the roof: Dog, dust, mold, goose down, cat, burmuda grass, etc...and she insisted the test was accurate. I respectfully told her she was completely wrong...the back tests never work on me for some reason. I'm currently having a massive issue with a dog I allowed my son to get...but she says the tests are negative.

I'm scheduled to go back for retesting next week...but I'm to the point that I insist they do the sub-Q shots (that correctly showed what I was allergic to before)...but if they're just doing the same procedure on my arm I know it will be a waste of time.

Of course my records from before had been shredded since it had been so long so I'm not sure what my next course of action should be. Their testing system does not work on me...but I have ridiculous allergies. Very frustrated at this point.
Aqua14 responded:
My understanding is that most allergists will use the skin prick tests (on the arms or back), and then if the patient's related history suggests allergy the allergist will perform the intradermal tests (what you call sub-Q, or subcutaneous, shots) which are the injections of minute quantities of allergen under the skin. My further understanding is that the allergist does the skin prick and intradermal tests in the very same visit -- skin prick first, then intradermal.

I am one whose skin prick tests were negative or had very small reactions (twice) but allergy showed up on the intradermals. So I can relate to your frustration.

I have read that there are multiple reasons why skin prick tests might be negative. For example, the patient might have a skin condition that interferes with the tests, or there might be some lingering effects of the patient's usual antihistamine (like not waiting long enough between discontinuing antihistamine and doing the test).

I hate arguing with doctors that get a certain mindset and can't reconsider based upon the patient's history. My understanding is that in diagnosing allergy, the patient's history is just as important as the objective skin or blood tests, and in fact the physician must interpret the objective test results in light of the patient's history. So your doc is ignoring your actual real-life experience which is an important part of your clinical diagnosis. It might be a good idea to get a new allergist.

Hope these thoughts help you. Take care & good luck. Judy
It's never too late to be what you might have been. ~ George Eliot. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Wanne01 replied to Aqua14's response:
Very helpful Judy!...thank you for taking the time to respond. My allergy history is extensive and I like I said I can name a dozen things right off the top of my head. HOPEFULLY we can get this resolved this week!

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