Skin Test Results 50/50 - Why Do Them?

Posted on: Fri, 10/27/2000 - 3:42am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

If it is true that skin test results only show a 50% accuracy rate, why have them done at all? Thanks for any information! Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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Posted on: Fri, 10/27/2000 - 4:10am
CarolynM's picture
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Joined: 03/27/2001 - 09:00

I just took my daughter to a new allergist on Wed. and he skin testd her. I was really dreading it, but it wasn't half as bad as I thought it was going to be. I never heard that they were only 50% accurate, just that they are more sensitive than the RAST. The tests really told us a lot and I'm glad we had it done. We didn't have her tested for peanuts, becuase we already know how she reacts, but we did find out about a lot of other stuff. So I don't know if your question was about testing for peanuts or testing in general, but it was beneficial for my daughter, and I did previously have doubts about it.

Posted on: Fri, 10/27/2000 - 4:14am
Christine's picture
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Joined: 02/03/1999 - 09:00

I've never heard of the 50% accuracy rate for skin prick tests. I know that it is possible to get a false positive in a child with eczema, but that's about all I've heard. Recently, I had a friend's child undergo skin testing for a wheat allergy. Her allergist will not do RAST testing because it is too controversial and unreliable. Those were the allergists words--not mine!! Anyway, my son has been to two separate allergists and neither has even suggested RAST testing (we do live in a major city). He's had several skin prick tests and the results have been pretty consistent between each test over the years. So, I'm pretty confident in this type of test.
Christine

Posted on: Fri, 10/27/2000 - 4:21am
BENSMOM's picture
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Joined: 05/20/2000 - 09:00

Cindy, boy have I been struggling with this question! I believe that you can count on a negative skin prick test being right. However, 50-60% of people who react positively to a skin prick test will not react to the allergen! Ben's allergic to walnuts, and sometimes I regret having him tested because I really don't think he's allergic to peanuts.
My understanding is that tests are just one part of diagnosis. The key, most important part is history. We just had a guest speaker at our La Leche League meeting yesterday talking about food allergies. I told her my situation (tested pos, but never reacted). She said he's been sensitized, but is not really allergic (whatever that means.) I asked her how should we live our lives. She said that since he doesn't like peanuts anyway, don't feed them to him, but don't worry about "may contain" labels. But she said I needed to be comfortable with it. I can't just do that because she said so. She seemed extremely knowledgable. She works with FAN to educate schools, etc. She also works directly with allergic families.
Anyway, that went off the subject a little. I think the reason to test is because for the most part, negative is negative. Correct me if I'm wrong, someone. Positive has to be put together with history to make a diagnosis. I'm sure your daughter has never had peanuts, so you have no history. I'd do the test just for a start. If it's negative, you can breathe easy.

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