Skin Prick Testing
Skin prick testing is the most commonly used diagnostic procedure at Allergy Medical. It’s accurate, quick, convenient and safe when correctly performed under medical supervision.
The procedure is not painful—it feels more like a scratch than the jab of an injection. Results are evident within 20 minutes, enabling diagnosis in one visit.
Skin prick testing can be used to test sensitivity to the vast majority of the most common allergens—such as foods, animals, dust mites and other insects, mould, plants and pollen.
Skin prick tests are generally performed on the forearm. The skin is initially cleaned with an alcohol wipe.
Markings are made in pen to identify the various allergens that will be applied. Depending on your symptoms, you will generally be tested for a range of allergens.
Drops of various allergen reagents—commercially produced allergen extracts in solution—are applied to each area. If a commercially produced allergen isn’t available, a sample of the allergen in its natural state may be used. Control reagents are also applied to verify and qualify the results.
A lancet is used to make a tiny incision in the skin, under the reagent. This allows the allergen to penetrate the skin. A new sterile lancet is used for each allergen, to avoid contamination.
If you are allergic to an allergen, a small weal—like the swelling from an insect bite—will appear in the area within 15 to 20 minutes. Any reactions will be measured and compared with the control results.
Your Allergy Medical doctor can then interpret the results, and diagnose any allergies. A treatment and management plan will be prepared, taking into account the allergen involved and the severity of your reaction.
A lotion will be applied to reduce swelling and itching, which will generally subside within two hours. An oral antihistamine may also be used.
What you need to know
You will need to cease oral antihistamine medications at least three days prior to the procedure, as these can interfere with test results.
You may also be required to cease certain cold remedies and antidepressants, as these can have an antihistamine-like action.
It’s also a good idea to avoid applying any creams or lotions to the forearm area.
You can continue asthma medications or nasal sprays.
We will provide you with detailed information when scheduling your appointment.
If you have any questions or concerns, just ask us.