Skin prick and blood tests

Skin prick and blood tests

To support the diagnosis of IgE-mediated cow’s milk allergy

There are a few different tests to diagnose cow’s milk allergy that may depend on the type of allergic reaction that’s suspected. If your doctor thought your baby might have an IgE-mediated allergy (where the symptoms usually occur immediately after consuming cow’s milk protein), they may have given your baby a skin prick or blood test to support the diagnosis of cow’s milk allergy.

Skin prick test

The skin prick test would have involved exposing your baby’s skin to a tiny amount of cow’s milk protein, and carefully monitoring for any signs of an allergic reaction. If a reaction occurred it would have been seen as a small red bump at the site. The test will give results within 15-20 minutes that will have been interpreted by your doctor alongside your baby’s medical history and other factors.

Blood test

A blood test might have been carried out to help diagnose IgE-mediated cow’s milk allergy by seeing if your baby had any antibodies against cow’s milk protein in their blood. This might suggest that an allergic reaction has occurred in response to cow’s milk protein.


It’s important that these tests are carried out by a doctor. Don’t buy any tests to use yourself as they may not be reliable and the advice they give may not be appropriate for your baby. Also, be aware that a positive skin prick test or a positive blood test does not confirm allergy as it only shows sensitisation to a food allergen.

Remember, these tests will only have been used to help to diagnose the IgE-mediated type of cow’s milk allergy. They won’t show if your baby has the non-IgE-mediated type. If your doctor suspected a non-IgE-mediated allergy, they may have asked you to put your baby on an elimination diet followed by a food challenge. The elimination diet followed by a food challenge may also be recommended to support the diagnosis of IgE-mediated cow’s milk allergy.


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