Skin testing is the best method to test for clinically-relevant allergies. We may need to perform skin testing for outdoor, indoor, drug, vaccine, insect, latex, or food allergies depending on your symptoms. A skin test consist of introducing small amounts of the suspected substance (allergen) into the skin and recording the response for 15 minutes after application. The first test will be a scratch test; if needed, we may need to perform a second test where the allergen is injected under the skin. A positive response will cause a hive (welt) that consist of a wheal (swelling), flare (redness), and itching. The skin testing appointment may take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours depending on the amount of testing required.
Local reactions to skin testing may include:
Local reactions consist or swelling, pain, itching, warmth, or redness. These reactions typically disappear in 30-60 minutes and no treatment is necessary. Occasionally, local reactions may last longer. These reactions are not serious and will gradually disappear over several days. Uncommonly, slight bleeding or a skin infection may occur at the site of testing.
More serious reactions to skin testing or oral challenges to foods or drugs may include:
Systematic reactions may also occur, but are uncommon. These reactions include itchy eyes, nose or throat; nasal congestion; runny nose; sneezing; tightness in the throat or chest; increased wheezing; lightheadedness; faintness; nausea and vomiting; hives; generalized itching; and shock that could be potentially fatal/ Please notify the medical staff or physician if you have any of these symptoms. If you were to have any of these symptoms, you may be treated with epinephrine (adrenaline), antihistamines, intravenous fluids, or steroids.