What is a Skin Allergy Test?
A skin allergy test is an umbrella term used to refer to a number of testing procedures used in the diagnosis of allergies. Skin allergy tests are popular because they help in the diagnosis of many common allergies.
They also have the advantage of being less invasive than blood tests and provide a good alternative for children or patients who may have an aversion to needles. They also cause little pain or inconvenience for a patient and can be conducted on an outpatient basis. Your allergist can help you determine which skin allergy test is best for your needs.
There are several different types of skin tests used by the medical community in the diagnosis of allergies. Each of these tests comes with its own pros and cons. Some tests are better for assessing certain conditions, for example, while other tests are a better fit for certain patients.
Some conditions, too, including food allergies, are more diagnostically complex and may require additional testing beyond just a skin test. Determining which test is the best option for you should be done in close consultation with your doctor or allergist.
Types Of Skin Allergy Tests
Types of Allergies a Skin Test Reveals
Skin allergies are one of the most common forms of allergies treated by an allergist.learn more
Pollen allergy “hay fever” symptoms are triggered by pollens from trees and plants, which can range from very mild to severe.learn more
Any animal with fur or feathers can cause allergies, and symptoms can vary from person to person.learn more
*Note: Skin tests can help diagnose food allergies; however, given the complexities of food allergies, skin tests are not typically the only diagnostic procedure involved in diagnosing these conditions. Patients with suspected food allergies may require additional testing. Skin allergy tests are popular due to their simplicity and to the fact that they are not invasive procedures.
Risks of Skin Allergy Testing
As with any medical procedure, there are some risks associated with skin allergy testing. The most common side effect associated with skin testing is the occurrence of an allergic response in the skin. This typically involves the development of swollen itchy red bumps and blisters.
Sometimes these reactions are visible immediately after application of the allergen but, in some cases, they may take several hours or days to appear. In very rare cases, a patient may develop a severe allergic reaction. This is why skin allergy testing is always conducted in the safety of an allergist’s office under medical supervision.
Skin testing is not recommended for patients with a history of severe allergic reactions. It is also not a good choice for patients on some heartburn medications or antidepressants. Finally, patients with some skin disorders, including psoriasis and eczema, may wish to avoid skin testing. Blood allergy tests can provide a viable alternative for these patients.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE SKIN ALLERGY TEST?
After your skin test, your allergist will go over the results with you very carefully. This means making a treatment plan and an action plan that can help you stay away from allergens that make your symptoms worse. No matter what kind of allergy you have, the first step in treating it is to stay away from allergens.
If an allergen is found to be causing a severe reaction, you may also need to talk about other treatments, such as injectable epinephrine. Your allergist may also suggest changes to your home, workplace, or daily habits that will make you less likely to be exposed to dangerous allergens.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Do Skin Tests Take to Get Results?
Some skin tests provide results in as little as 15 to 20 minutes. The skin patch test can take several days to produce results. This is an advantage, however, in testing patients who have a suspected type IV delayed response to allergens. No skin allergy testing results should take longer than 96 hours.
Are Skin Tests Safe?
Skin allergy testing is very safe for patients. Skin allergy tests are always conducted in an allergist’s office under medical supervision. Even if a patient has a more serious allergic response, medical personnel are on hand to provide immediate treatment.
Do Skin Tests Hurt?
Skin tests can cause some itching, light pain, and inflammation. This is because the body is having a histamine response to the allergen and is actually providing the allergist with the information they need to confirm a diagnosis. If the pain and discomfort associated with a skin allergy test is severe, patients should contact their allergist immediately.
Are Skin Tests Covered by Insurance?
Skin allergy tests may be covered by insurance. Patients can confirm whether or not a procedure is covered by their insurance by contacting their insurance company. Since allergies often interfere with everyday life and work, many insurance providers consider allergy treatment to be preventative care.