Allergy Skin Testing
The most reliable and common test for allergies is a skin test. This simple, in office procedure introduces a very small amount of a specific allergen or allergens selected by the allergist based on your medical history (such as pollen, dust mite, animal dander, mold, and/or foods). The allergen is introduced through an indention or “prick” on the surface of the skin.
Following the skin prick test on the back, some patients may also receive intradermal testing, where a small amount of the allergen is injected under the skin of the arm to see if it causes a reaction.
The results are available within minutes allowing your allergist to develop a treatment plan immediately.
Allergy skin testing is the most accurate method of evaluating allergies. These tests are safe, minimally invasive, and easily interpreted. Results of skin testing have proven to be more accurate than blood testing in diagnosing allergies.
Certain medications containing antihistamines should be stopped the week prior to skin testing. See our detailed list of medications to stop 7 days before skin testing.
Do not stop taking your asthma medications or other routine medications without checking with your prescribing physician.
Children and Skin Testing
The American Academy of Pediatrics does not consider age as a barrier to skin testing. The appropriate age to test depends on the individual child and their symptoms. Speak with your allergist to determine the proper age of testing for your child. It is often recommended to retest a child as they mature. Many times certain foods can be reintroduced that once caused an allergic reaction.