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How can you find out what you're allergic to?

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Your doctor can check to see what you’re reacting to, but finding the exact cause may be hard. Skin tests can only show what you're sensitive to. They can't tell what touched your skin in a specific spot on a specific day. Doctors often use the TRUE test. It's a pre-packaged set of three panels that your doctor will stick to your back. Each is smaller than a dollar bill and has 12 patches with samples of possible allergens. You wear them for two days. Then the doctor takes them off to see if you've had any reactions. You might need to come back a few more times, since some reactions could show up as many as 10 days later. You might be allergic to something that isn’t in the standard TRUE test. To figure that out, your doctor may do more patch testing. He or she will choose substances you might contact in your work, home, or hobbies. If you have a mild reaction in any patch test, you might need to follow up with a ROAT test. It works a lot like the TRUE test, but you do it yourself. Put the suspected allergen (for example, sunscreen) on your skin during the day in the same spot over several days. This can help confirm or rule out your sensitivity. The dimethylglyoxime test looks for metal objects that have enough nickel to cause a reaction. Your doctor can test things in the office, or you can buy a kit to test jewelry and other items yourself.

SOURCES:

Handa, S. , November-December 2011. Indian Journal of Dermatology

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunolgy: "Skin Allergy."

American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology: "Contact Dermatitis."

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: "Contact Dermatits."

Santos, R. , 2007. Contact Dermatitis

Kanerva's Occupational Dermatology , Springer, 2012.

FDA: "T.R.U.E. Test: Full Prescribing Information." 

Nelson, J. , October 2010. Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology

Medscape: “Contact Dermatitis: An Overview.”

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: “Hives (Urticaria).”

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on June 22, 2017

SOURCES:

Handa, S. , November-December 2011. Indian Journal of Dermatology

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunolgy: "Skin Allergy."

American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology: "Contact Dermatitis."

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: "Contact Dermatits."

Santos, R. , 2007. Contact Dermatitis

Kanerva's Occupational Dermatology , Springer, 2012.

FDA: "T.R.U.E. Test: Full Prescribing Information." 

Nelson, J. , October 2010. Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology

Medscape: “Contact Dermatitis: An Overview.”

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: “Hives (Urticaria).”

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on June 22, 2017

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How is contact dermatitis treated?

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