What is skin allergy testing?
During allergy skin testing, your doctor exposes your skin to small doses of allergy-causing substances, triggering an allergic reaction. Combined with a thorough physical exam and blood screens if needed, skin allergy testing can alert you to food, environmental factors, or other irritants responsible for causing allergy-related symptoms.
Who is a good candidate for skin allergy testing?
Skin allergy testing is safe for patients of all ages, from infants to senior citizens. However, your doctor may recommend a different type of allergy testing if you have a medical history of severe allergic reactions, you take prescription medications that could interfere with your results, or you have a severe case of psoriasis or eczema.
Typically, skin allergy testing is most effective at identifying airborne allergens like dust mites and pet dander. Skin allergy testing can also identify some food allergies but is usually combined with other types of screening to achieve optimum results.
What are the different types of skin allergy tests?
Each patient with a skin allergy is unique in the ways they respond to allergy tests and medications. For some, traditional medications do the trick, while others might need an alternative solution. The team at AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Atlanta offers different types of skin allergy tests that allow us to get to the next step in treating your allergy.
Skin prick test
During a skin prick test, your doctor cleans off an area of your skin, draws a series of small marks, and applies a drop of an allergen extract to each mark. After placing the drops, your doctor uses a series of small needles or lancets to puncture the surface of your skin. Finally, your doctor scratches your skin with two additional substances: Histamine and saline.
For most people, histamine causes an allergic reaction and saline does not. After about 15 minutes, your doctor examines your skin for signs of allergic reactions. If you’re allergic to one or more substances, a small, red bump appears.
Skin injection test
During a skin injection test, your doctor injects a small amount of a particular allergen beneath the surface of your skin. Your doctor may recommend a skin injection test if they suspect you’re allergic to a certain type of insect or penicillin.
The team at AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Atlanta uses patch testing to pinpoint the source of allergic skin irritation or contact dermatitis. Patch tests don’t involve needles or lancets.
Instead, your doctor applies a patch with different allergens, similar to a bandaid, to your back or arm. After you wear the patch for 48 hours, you return to the office, and your doctor removes the patch, looking for signs of an allergy. Some of the most common allergens patch testing identifies include latex, metals, and perfumes.
Depending on the results of your skin allergy testing, your doctor helps you find ways to avoid the substances that cause allergic reactions or, depending on the severity of the allergy, may recommend medication.
Don’t let the uncomfortable symptoms of an allergic reaction prevent you from living your best life. Request a skin allergy testing appointment at AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Atlanta today; call or use the online booking tool.