What is Allergy Skin Testing?
The only way to treat your allergy symptoms is to determine exactly what is causing them. This is done through a series of allergy tests.
Your allergy test can take up to two hours. Our Allergy Department will perform two types of allergy testing during your evaluation. Both tests are administered on the uppermost layers of the skin. If the skin develops a red, raised itchy area (called a wheal), it usually means that the person is allergic to that antigen.
Skin Prick Test: This test, also referred to as Multi-Testing, is a quick, convenient, and standard procedure for allergy testing. Multi-Testing is done by placing a drop of antigen on the inner part of the forearms with a disposable, sterile, plastic multiple test applicator. These applicators allow the solution to enter the skin. The sensation is that of a mild prick. Results are evaluated after 20 minutes.
Intradermal Test: After the skin prick testing has been performed, we will perform the intradermal tests if necessary. During intradermal testing, the allergen solution is injected under the skin with a very small gauge needle to the upper arm/deltoid area or back. The sensation has been described “similar to a mosquito bite.” The results are evaluated after 10 minutes. The findings will be reviewed with you.
How Does an Allergy Blood Test Work?
A blood test is used to measure how much of an allergen-specific antibody, called immunoglobulin E (IgE), is in your blood. The more allergen specific IgE in your blood, the more likely you are to be allergic. Blood tests are typically used to confirm the results of a skin test; they may also be used in lieu of skin tests if a serious allergy makes skin testing unsafe.