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Can an intradermal test help to diagnose the cause of hives?

Skin testing comes in two common forms. Prick skin testing involves placing a drop of extract on the skin and then lightly scratching the skin, usually with a plastic device. This does not involve a needle or break the skin.
Intradermal testing involves injecting the extract into the skin. This method is more likely to give a positive reaction, but this reaction may or may not be legitimate. False positive results are much more common with intradermal testing. In studies comparing prick testing and intradermal testing, the symptoms of allergy sufferers who had their treatment based on intradermal testing did no better than those who were in the control group. It has a very limited place in most kinds of allergy testing. 

Most long-standing hives do not have a simple allergic cause. However, if the history suggests one, prick skin testing would be the most appropriate test to look into this. 
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

An intradermal test is sometimes used to diagnose the cause of hives. In this test, purified allergen extracts are injected into the skin of a person's arm. Within minutes, a raised bump or redness will appear if the person is allergic to the substance. An intradermal test can help identify allergies to things such as penicillin or insect bites that may be causing the hives. The test is considered more accurate than a scratch test and is used when the person cannot identify the substance that may be triggering the hives. Consult a dermatologist or allergist for more information.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.