Allergy Skin test: Procedure, Types, and Risks 

Allergy Skin test: Procedure, Types, and Risks 

Allergies are annoying and exhausting; every year you go through dozens of allergy medications with the hope of finding relief. Just when you think all is well, the symptoms come back as soon as you come in contact with an allergen. Are you tired of the never-ending roller-coaster? Well, the first step is to visit Dr. Rishi at Arizona Allergy Associates to get an allergy test and learn what causes allergic reactions.

What Are Allergies?

Allergies are reactions caused by an overactive immune system. Our immune system is charged with the responsibility of detecting, responding and recognizing foreign objects. Furthermore, the immune cells can also differentiate between substances that are harmful from those that are not. However, when the system is broken, the antibodies begin to attack all foreign substances whether harmful or not thus causing inflammation in the body.

Common allergy symptoms depend on the cause or the substance involved, but they may include inflammation, itching, or swelling.

What’s an Allergy Test?

During the allergy test, the doctor exposes your skin to a suspected allergy-causing allergen and they check for any skin reaction. The test is done to diagnose conditions such as hay fever, latex or food allergy and dermatitis.

Apart from the allergy test, the doctor will also do a comprehensive medical history to determine the allergens you may be allergic to.

The information collected will help the doctor develop a treatment plan that may include medication, allergy shots, and avoidance of the allergen.

What to Expect

The steps of allergy skin testing differ depending on the type of allergy tests, but Dr. Rishi will do two different tests:

1. A prick, scratch, or puncture test

A prick test is the golden standard of allergy skin testing and it checks the immediate allergy reactions. The allergy test is not painful and takes a few minutes to be complete. A nurse will clean skin with alcohol, prick it with a needle then apply the allergen, and within 15 minutes you will know whether you are allergic or not.

Some of the skin reactions that the allergist will look for include red, itchy bumps om the skin.

The prick test can be used to test up to 40 substances at once and can be done in all people including infants older than six months.

Keep in mind the allergist may apply histamine, glycerin or saline before the main allergy test. These three substances are used to check if your skin works normally. A reaction to histamine indicates an abnormality in your skin and may make the tests inconclusive. In such a case, the allergist will do the intradermal allergy test.

2. Intradermal allergy test

The allergy skin test is done if the prick test fails. This test involves injecting the allergen into the skin. Intradermal tests are more accurate but may cause a whole-body allergic reaction. Furthermore, they are done to check on environmental and drug allergies.

At Dr. Rishi Arizona Allergy Associates, we perform these two skin tests, but you may come across the patch test that is done to diagnose contact dermatitis.

How to prepare for The Test

It is crucial to tell the doctor of all the medications that you may be taking even over-the-counter medications as they can affect the results.

Drugs like antihistamines may stop the allergic reaction, so it is advisable to stop taking them a few days before the test.

Is The Allergy Skin Testing Safe?

Yes, but it may cause mild irritation to some people. Though rare, you may have a whole-body reaction, so it’s important to let the doctor know if you experience fever, lightheadedness, trouble breathing, swelling, and a widespread rash.

After the test, the doctor will use alcohol to clean off the marks on your skin and give you a mild cortisone cream for itching. However, call the doctor if you experience severe skin reactions or if you notice anaphylaxis symptoms such as throat swelling, difficulty breathing or fast heart rate.

Come for an Allergy Test

Are you tired of constant allergy reactions? It’s time to make a change and know what causes your allergies. So, come to Dr. Rishi at Arizona Allergy Associates for allergy skin testing and treatment.