Skin Prick Testing for Allergies
Skin Prick Testing
During skin prick testing, a small quantity of the allergen is applied to your skin, typically on your back or arm. Your doctor will then use a small needle to gently prick the skin in that area, introducing your body to the allergen. If your body reacts to the allergen, you’ll notice the pricked area becoming red, swollen, and itchy.
After approximately 20 minutes, your doctor will measure the extent of redness and swelling, recording these measurements. Combined with your medical history, this information assists them in determining whether you are allergic to the specific allergen being tested.
While skin prick testing may cause some discomfort, most individuals find it manageable. Any swelling or itching typically subsides within a couple of hours. If you find the discomfort significant, your doctor might suggest taking an antihistamine or pain-reliever medication after the test to alleviate the symptoms.
It’s important to note that you should refrain from taking antihistamine medications for a few days prior to skin testing, as they can affect the test results. Your doctor may also advise against applying creams or lotions to the test area on your skin.
Blood tests are an alternative method for allergy assessment. They may be recommended when skin testing is not feasible, such as in cases of severe eczema or when you are taking medications that could interfere with skin testing.
Dr Parry has a special interest in Allergies and is happy to discuss hayfever, hives eczema, asthma, food allergies and intolerances. Assessment of these issues involves having a consultation about your symptoms, a physical examination, then possible blood tests ,breathing tests, skin prick testing, dietary modification or referral to a specialist.