There are many ways to test you to see if your symptoms may be caused by allergies. There are three types of allergy skin testing that are done to help your doctor identify what may be causing your allergy symptoms.
Skin Prick Testing
The ENT and Allergy Center of Missouri offers allergy testing on children three years of age and older.
Allergy Skin Prick Testing (SPT) is the test of choice by most allergists because of its high rate of reliability, minimal discomfort and ease of use. The SPT test takes about 45 minutes.
SPT testing involves gently pressing a small plastic device dipped into different allergens onto the skin of your inner arms. These allergens remain on the skin for at least 20 minutes, then the results are read.
Few patients have found this test uncomfortable. If you or your child prefer, we can apply numbing cream to your forearms one hour before the test.
A positive result, or wheal, looks swollen like a mosquito bite. This swelling tells us that you are allergic to that allergen. Positive reactions usually disappear on their own within a couple hours. We apply anti-itch cream on your arms afterwards if needed.
Watch the video below about allergy skin prick testing.
Intradermal Testing (IDT) is performed on the upper arms by placing a small amount of 20 allergens in two different strengths just under the skin with a very tiny needle. These results are read after 20 minutes. IDT takes about 90 minutes.
Patch Testing involves placing three tape-like panels or patches of 29 substances to which you may be allergic on the upper back. Among these substances are nickel, rubber, fragrance, preservatives and wool. The patches remain on your back for 48 to 72 hours. You cannot get the patches wet during this time.
When the patches are removed, the results are read by our office staff and again 48 hours later to look for any delayed reactions. Individual tests of suspected allergens can be applied to your back the same way as the patch tests.
Risks of Allergy Testing The most serious reaction that can occur with skin testing is anaphylaxis. This is a major allergic reaction that can include hives, chest tightness, wheezing, lip or throat swelling, or a more extreme reaction. Adverse reactions are extremely rare.
Allergy testing cannot be done if any of the following apply:
You are taking an antihistamine, beta-blocker, tri-cyclic antidepressant, natural medicine or other medications that can affect the test results. Contact the ENT and Allergy Center of Missouri at (573) 817-3000 for a complete list.
You have chest pain, unstable angina or have had a recent heart attack.
You are pregnant or breast feeding.
You have a cold or upper respiratory infection, and/or a temperature over 99.6F.
You are wheezing or short of breath.
You have asthma and your asthma has been worse lately or is not in good control.
Your airflow screening test, called a Peak Flow test, is low.
Your skin is over reactive and might give false positive results.
If allergy skin testing is not appropriate, blood testing may be an option.
To find out more, contact one of the ENT and Allergy Center of Missouri allergy specialists at (573) 817-3000.