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About Allergy Skin Tests

Commonly Recommended Skin Tests

There are three main types of skin tests prescribed by allergists – skin prick tests, intradermal skin tests and patch tests. The choice and number of tests is based on a variety of factors such as patient’s medical history and current health condition, specific medications being taken by patient and allergy symptoms among others. Allergy specific skin tests may be ordered when patients show recurrent or persistent symptoms of allergic rhinitis, hay fever, food allergies and asthma that are not effectively controlled by medicines.

Skin Prick Test Procedure

For a skin prick test, a small amount of suspected allergen extract is placed on skin and the site is pricked so that the allergen extract seep under skin’s surface. A medical professional closely watches the area for signs of redness and swelling. Signs such as redness and swelling are usually visible within ten to twenty minutes of pricking and disappear after a while. No reaction means negative result and indicates that the patient is not allergic to that particular substance. A positive reaction indicates that the patient is sensitive to particular allergen.

Other Diagnostic Procedures

For an intradermal skin test, a small amount of allergen extract is directly injected into the skin. The site of injection is observed after ten to fifteen minutes for signs of reaction. Skin patch tests are procedures recommended to diagnose contact dermatitis. For a skin patch test, a patch with possible allergy causing substance is taped on the patient’s back for forty eight hours. The allergist observes the area in seventy two to ninety six hours and looks for reaction.

Ensuring Safety While Testing

Skin prick tests are considered to be safe when supervised by qualified medical professionals under the guidance of a trained allergist. In rare cases, extremely sensitive patients can have anaphylaxis, a life threating condition. Hence it is of utmost importance that allergy specific tests are conducted in medical establishments with emergency care facilities to treat serious responses. Based on your medical history and test results, an allergist will recommend course of action and lifestyle changes you can make to improve quality of life.

Comprehensive Information on Allergy Skin Tests

It is essential to gather relevant information before going for skin prick tests. You can access online resources, up to date information on latest allergy tests and comprehensive information on allergies and immunological diseases on European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology’s (EAACI) website. EAACI is a world renowned NGO dedicated to the study and research of allergies and immunological diseases. It has a special section on its website where patients and care givers can access the latest and most accurate information on a wide variety of allergy illnesses.