Allergy Testing

What is allergy skin testing?

Skin testing is the most reliable form of allergy testing. Because mast cells are located in high numbers just under the skin, results of skin testing have proven to be more accurate than blood testing in diagnosing allergies.

Please bring with you a complete list of all medications, as well as your pharmacy number and street address. We routinely send prescriptions electronically and need your pharmacy information to ensure accuracy.

Your initial visit will take 2-3 hours in total. During the testing process, we will use a marking pen on your back and arms, which may cause staining on a shirt. For this reason, we suggest you bring an older shirt with you to wear home.

The allergy testing procedure

Skin testing is a simple series of tiny scratches made on your back. Staff uses a small instrument similar to a plastic toothpick, which contains trace amounts of a single allergen, such as mold, pollen, dust mite, and pet dander to perform the allergy test. When the results are positive, a small reaction on the skin occurs, usually within 20 minutes. This reaction is generally a small bump, similar to a mosquito bite, and may cause some itchiness. A bump or reaction indicates that you are allergic to that specific trigger. Following the scratch test on the back, some patients may also receive intradermal testing, where a small amount of the allergen is injected under the skin of the arm to see if it causes a reaction.

Here is a video explaining the testing and immunotherapy process we show to patients after they are tested:

What medications should be stopped before testing?

You should stop taking certain medications that contain antihistamines anywhere from three (3) to five (5) days prior to testing.  Click here for a detailed list.

Do not stop taking any inhaled asthma medications or routine medications that treat high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, etc.

Test Results from Allergy Testing:

Our doctors also take a medical history in addition to the allergy test to determine what allergens are bothersome and diagnose an allergy. Patients will be made aware during their initial visit what allergens they have tested positive to. Based on the test results of your allergy skin test, our allergists determine the best treatment options for your allergies and their symptoms.

What age is appropriate for allergy skin testing?

Per the American Academy of Pediatrics, age is not a barrier to skin testing. Even infants can benefit. As the child’s immune system develops, the child should be retested to identify changes in his/her immune response. Many times foods can be reintroduced into the diet that once caused an allergic reaction. In addition to Allergy & Immunology, our allergists train in either pediatrics or internal medicine, so we are very comfortable treating pediatric patients for allergies and asthma.

Don’t keep suffering from allergies. Schedule an appointment today with one of our board-certified allergists.