If you want to avoid an allergic reaction, it helps to know what you’re allergic to. Skin testing is a safe and fairly easy way for your doctor to try to figure out or confirm what’s causing your symptoms.
Skin tests use extracts – a concentrated liquid form – of common allergens like pollen, mold, dust mites, animal dander and foods. Once the allergen gets in your skin, it could trigger a rash. Your skin will get irritated and may itch, like a mosquito bite.
That reaction is how the doctor can tell you’re allergic to a substance. When you have an allergy, your immune system will make antibodies and set off chemicals to fight the unwelcome invader.
What Happens During a Skin Test?
A Scratch test, also known as a puncture or prick test: First, your doctor or nurse will look at the skin on your forearm or back and clean it with alcohol. They’ll mark and label areas on your skin with a pen. Then they’ll place a drop of a potential allergen on each of those spots. Next, they’ll prick the outer layer of your skin to let the allergen in. (It’s not a shot, and it won’t make you bleed.)
How to Get Ready for a Test
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you’re taking, including over-the-counter products. Some drugs can interfere with the results, so your doctor will give you a list of medicines to avoid before the test.
If you can’t stop taking a medication, your doctor or nurse may do a separate test to find out if that drug will interfere with the results.
Since allergy medicines, such as OTC antihistamines, stop allergic reactions, you shouldn’t take them for a few days before your test. You need to let your body react to the allergens in the test.
Is it Safe?
A skin test may be mildly irritating, but most people say it doesn’t hurt. Although you’re coming into contact with things you could be allergic to, they’re very small amounts. An allergy skin test is safe when done the right way.
Whole-body reactions to skin testing are rare, but let your doctor know right away if you have:
- Light Headedness
- Trouble Breathing
- A Widespread Rash
- Swelling on your face, lips or mouth
- A hard time swallowing
After Your Test
The doctor or nurse will clean any extracts and ink marks off your skin with alcohol. You may need to apply a mild cortisone cream to relieve itching.
Your doctor or allergist will use the results of your test to come up with a treatment plan just for you.
Fort Bend Corrective Health Center is located in Missouri City, TX.
To Schedule your consultation, call us today at 281.261.7200.
You have the right to rescind within 72 hours, any obligation to pay for the services provided in addition to free or discounted services. Not valid for Medicare/Medicaid patients.