Tests and diagnosisBy Mayo Clinic staff
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|Positive reaction to allergy test|
If you've had a reaction to bee stings that suggests you might be allergic to bee venom, your doctor may suggest one or both of the following tests:
- Skin test. During skin testing, a small amount of purified allergen extract (in this case, bee venom) is injected into the skin of your arm or upper back. This test is safe and won't cause any serious reactions. If you're allergic to bee stings, you develop a raised bump (hive) at the test location on your skin. Allergy specialists usually are best equipped to perform allergy skin tests.
- Allergy blood test. A blood test (sometimes called the radioallergosorbent test, or RAST) can measure your immune system's response to bee venom by measuring the amount of allergy-causing antibodies in your bloodstream, known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. A blood sample is sent to a medical laboratory, where it can be tested for evidence of sensitivity to possible allergens.
Allergy skin tests are the most accurate tests for insect allergies. But if the allergy skin test is negative — and your doctor still thinks you might have a stinging insect allergy — you may need an allergy blood test to double-check. Your doctor may also want to test you for allergies to yellow jackets, hornets and wasps — which can cause allergic reactions similar to those of bee stings.
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