Allergy Skin Testing: What to Expect

Allergy Skin Testing: What to Expect

Things like mold, pet dander, bee stings, and peanuts can all cause an allergic reaction in some people. That’s why it's important to have allergy testing. The test results can help you take steps to manage your allergies. By understanding which allergens are causing your symptoms, you can work with your provider to create a plan to limit exposure and manage your symptoms.

Family practice physician Evan Allen, MD, offers top-quality, comprehensive care for the entire family. Dr. Allen can help you stay well through routine checkups, chronic disease management, and acute illness care. If you suspect that you have an allergy, Dr. Allen can perform a thorough evaluation. One of the ways we check for allergies is through skin testing.

What is allergy testing, and why is it performed?

Allergy testing helps get to the root of your symptoms. This is important, because if you have an allergic reaction, it means your immune system is overreacting to a trigger, also called an allergen. Allergens can be things in the environment like pollen, or foods like milk or soy. You can also have allergic reactions to bee stings or latex.

If you're experiencing allergy symptoms, it’s best to visit us for allergy testing. Additionally, allergy testing can be useful for people with asthma, as it can help identify any allergy triggers that may worsen asthma symptoms or bring on an asthma attack.

Signs that you may have an allergy

If you're allergic to airborne allergens such as dust, pollen, or pet dander, you may experience:

Food allergies can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, such as skin rashes, respiratory problems, gastrointestinal issues, and even heart palpitations. While the reactions can occur anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours after exposure, knowing what to look for can help you get the treatment you need.

People with allergies to latex, fragrances, or metals (like nickel) may develop contact dermatitis, a skin reaction that can cause burning sensations, blisters, hives, swelling, and skin rashes.

Skin prick test

Skin prick testing involves placing a drop of the food allergen solution on your forearm or back. Dr. Allen usse a small plastic probe or tiny needle to prick or scratch your skin. This allows a tiny amount of the solution to enter just below the skin surface. 

Depending on the sensitivity of your skin, results of your skin prick test can take a few minutes or up to 30 minutes to appear. A positive reaction is indicated by the formation of a wheal – a raised bump surrounded by a small circle of itchy, red skin. 

Intradermal skin test

When you get intradermal skin testing done, a small amount of each suspected allergen is injected under the skin. A raised bump and redness is a positive response that indicates you may have an allergy. After a short time (15-20 minutes), each skin test reaction is assessed for swelling and redness. 

Patch test

Patch testing is used to diagnose contact dermatitis. It involves exposing your skin to a suspected allergen, and then monitoring the exposed area for any signs of an allergic response.

Small patches containing allergens are placed on the skin and worn for 24-48 hours, after which you come back to the office for a check. Two days later you return for another exam of the patch test area.

Dr. Allen reviews your skin testing results and discusses treatment if your tests reveal that you have an allergy. 

Allergy diagnosis and management

If you or a family member experiences symptoms of an allergy, we can help you get to the root of your symptoms. Call our office in Henderson, Nevada, to schedule a visit with Dr. Allen or book your visit online today. 

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