What is the role of allergy testing in the evaluation of acute urticaria?

Updated: Mar 21, 2018
  • Author: Henry K Wong, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Michael A Kaliner, MD  more...
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Answer

Selected allergy tests can be performed if food allergy or stinging insect hypersensitivity is suspected. This process may be helpful for some cases of acute urticaria, but these studies are rarely helpful in the evaluation of chronic urticaria. [14] However, they may be needed to rule out an atopic component and label the urticaria as idiopathic.

Skin tests or radioallergosorbent assay test (RAST) (specific IgE) can be performed to detect hypersensitivity to a limited number of antibiotics. Testing for pollen or other inhalants is generally not helpful, unless a severe allergy may be causing the urticaria, such as a severe allergy to pollens, cats, or latex (these may manifest as contact urticaria).

Routine allergy testing with a large battery of screening tests is not recommended. A few research centers perform an autologous serum skin test, but it is currently not a well-established procedure.


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