What is allergy skin testing?

We suffer allergy reactions with the environment and with the food we eat. In an allergy skin test, a drop of a suspected allergen is pricked on the surface of the skin. The test is performed on the back or forearm. Many suspected allergens are tested at the same time. If you are allergic to one of the tests, you will have redness and swelling at the test spot. Positive reactions usually appear within 20 minutes. The delayed reaction usually disappears in 24 to 48 hours, but should be reported to the allergy doctor or nurse.

What am I being tested for?

You will be tested for a variety of allergens including; dust mites, tree pollen, grass and weed pollen, mold spores, animal dander and foods.

How is allergy skin testing performed?

It is performed by “scratch testing”. A small “scratch”, or scrape, on the skin is made as a drop of the allergen is applied. Once the testing is applied we know within several minutes exactly what you are allergic to.

Does testing hurt?

Skin testing can cause some discomfort, but is not painful. After the test is performed, it takes about 15 minutes to develop. A positive test will appear as a raised, red bump on the skin, similar to a mosquito bite.

Who can be tested?

Adults and children over age 3 can be tested. Moderate asthmatics that are unmanaged by medications and pregnant or breast feeding women should also not be tested. A blood test is safer for such individuals.

Is there anything I have to do to prepare for my testing appointment?

Yes, you will need to avoid taking any antihistamines for 5 days prior to your appointment. For children it is 3 days. Please inform the nurse of any medications you are taking when you make your appointment. You will be advised if there are any other medications to avoid before your appointment.

What’s the next step after my testing is finished?

A personalized treatment plan will be developed to help control allergy symptoms. The allergy technician will demonstrate how the therapy is to be administered.

What is Immunotherapy?

Allergen immunotherapy is a form of treatment aimed at decreasing your sensitivity to substances called allergens. Immunotherapy involves introducing increasing amounts of an allergen over several months.

Does my insurance cover allergy testing?

In most cases allergy testing is covered. Prior to your testing appointment we will contact your insurance company to verify your coverage. We will then contact you to explain your benefits and answer any questions you may have.