What is an Allergy Skin Test?
Allergy Skin Test is a series of tests on the skin to find out which substances cause a person to have an allergic reaction. The test looks for reactions to specific allergens that are placed on the skin.
These allergens may include pollen, dust, molds, and medicines such as penicillin.
AZ Allergy Associates Allergy Skin Tests
There are three main ways to get allergens to react with your skin but the steps vary depending on what type of test you’re having.
- Skin Prick Test – also called a puncture or scratch test. The providers draw marks on your skin (usually on the forearm for adults and the upper back for the children) after cleaning with alcohol. Then they’ll apply a drop of a potential allergen on each of those spots and uses a lancet to prick the extracts into the skin’s surface.
- Intradermal Test – this test injects a small amount of allergen just under your skin.
- Patch Test – the test put an allergen on a patch and then stick that on your arm or back.
The pricking part of scratch and intradermal tests takes about 5 to 10 minutes. Then you’ll wait about 15 minutes to see how your skin reacts. Therefore plan for an hour-long appointment.
Patch tests take more time, you’ll have to wear a patch for about 48 hours in case you have a delayed reaction to the allergen.
What to expect from our service?
An allergy skin test isn’t painful. This type of testing use needles (lancets) that barely penetrate the skin’s surface. You won’t bleed or feel more than mild, momentary discomfort.
In either case, we will keep a close eye on the signs of a small hive or bump at the test site. The size of the bump will give you details about the sensitivity level. After the test, the bump should fade quickly, and no other side effects should remain.
Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?
- You may need to stop taking certain medicines before the test. These include antihistamines and antidepressants. We will let you know which medicines to avoid before your test and how long to avoid them.
- If your child is being tested, we will apply a numbing cream to his or her skin before the test.
After the test, we will clean any extracts and ink marks off your skin with alcohol. You may need to use a mild cortisone cream to ease itching.
If ever you get a patch test, you’ll go home with bandages on your skin. Don’t get these areas wet — no baths or swimming. When you go back to us in a couple of days, we will take another look at your skin.