Allergy Skin Testing

Allergy Skin Testing

Allergies are your immune system’s response to a foreign body. The severity of the reaction varies from person to person. It can range from minor irritation to a potentially serious one (e.g. anaphylaxis). 

The best way to minimize your allergic reaction is by avoiding your allergens (a foreign substance that triggers the reaction). Performing an allergy skin test is one way of identifying these allergens.

Different Types of Allergy Skin Test

There are different ways of doing an allergy skin test. The three main ways are the following: 

  • Scratch test (also known as the skin prick or puncture test)

During a scratch test, the doctor or nurse will clean your forearm with alcohol before marking and labeling different areas of the skin with a pen. They will then drop a potential allergen on each spot and scratch or prick the outer layer of the skin using a lancet to let the allergen in (a new lancet is used for every allergen).

After about 15 minutes of administering the test, the doctor/nurse will check the skin to check for any sign of allergic reaction. 

You can be allergic to an allergen if you develop a wheal (a raised, red bump).

  • Intradermal test (also known as the skin injection test)

In this type of skin allergy test, the doctor or nurse will inject a small amount of allergen under your skin. 

The area will be checked after 15 minutes of administering the test. 

The intradermal test is usually used for checking allergy to insect venom or penicillin.

  • Patch test

A patch test is done to determine if a certain substance is causing skin irritation. This test is helpful in detecting delayed allergic reactions.

In this test, allergens are introduced on your skin through patches. During this test, you may be introduced to 20 to 30 extracts of substances that may be causing you to contact dermatitis. 

This test is very helpful in identifying allergies to dyes, preservatives, certain perfume, and latex.

Compared to the scratch or skin injection test, you won’t be able to know the result of the test after 48 hours. As the patches will be on your skin for that long, you will be advised to avoid bathing and doing activities that may cause excessive sweating.

After 48 hours, the patches are removed. Whichever causes irritated skin indicates your allergy to that substance.

Benefits of Doing Skin Allergy Tests

Having a skin allergy test done can help your doctor create an effective allergy treatment plan for you. 

These tests are useful in diagnosing a wide range of allergic reactions, including:

  • Hay fever
  • Food allergies
  • Latex allergy
  • Skin asthma
  • Contact dermatitis

Greater Knoxville ENT performs skin allergy tests. We also have specialists who can develop an allergy management plan for you once we get the results. 

To request an appointment, you may call us at visit: https://www.greaterknoxent.com/contact/. 

References:

https://www.webmd.com/allergies/skin-test

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/allergy-tests/about/pac-20392895

 

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