The Skin Prick Test – Allergies
The skin prick test is a non-invasive method, similar to the patch test, used to determine a person’s response to different common allergens, such as dust, pollen, dander, or feathers. It is both quick and non-painful. At the Advanced Dermatology in New York and New Jersey, skin prick tests are both a fundamental and necessary diagnosis tool when determining a proper diagnosis and treatment. Our highly experienced specialists use the skin prick test to see if the skin reacts to potential allergens.
Overview of the Procedure
To prepare, rubbing alcohol is applied to the test site, usually the forearm, just prior to the test. Our staff will then apply multiple allergen extracts (usually up to 40) to the skin, drawing a mark next to each in order to identify the potential allergen. Tiny needles, called lancets, are used to make tiny prick points that introduce the allergen, injecting it just below the skin’s surface. Patients generally do not report pain from this procedure.
After about 20 minutes, one of our doctors will check the skin for reactions. What we are looking for is a positive histamine response, which results in a small bump or hive. Once all positive responses have been recorded and measured, rubbing alcohol is, once again, applied to clear the test site of allergens.
Individuals who have shown signs and symptoms of allergies are often given a skin prick test at one of Advanced Dermatology’s NY or NJ offices. Skin tests like the prick test allow our doctors to rule out specific ailments, in order to better diagnose conditions such as hay fever, eczema, or specific food allergies.
The skin prick test is considered safe for people of all ages. Those with a history of anaphylaxis or currently taking antihistamines are unlikely to be good candidates for this test, and our allergy specialists can discuss different options with you.
Recovery and Results
An advantage to the skin prick test is that you will learn your results immediately. Our practitioners measure the size of any hives or welts in order to determine how allergic you are to a particular allergen. The more obvious the reaction, the more sensitive you are to the allergen. Not every test is always accurate, and there is always the risk of a false positive or false negative.
There are no long-term side effects to this test, though some patients report a lingering reaction of redness, itching, or swelling which can range from several hours to several days.
Depending on your medical history, treatment suggestions may include lifestyle changes, medication, or shots (ie. immunotherapy). Our doctors at Advanced Dermatology will discuss your options once we diagnose your skin’s reaction.
Why Advanced Dermatology?
As industry leaders in skin care, our highly-trained doctors at Advanced Dermatology have been providing professional and leading skin healthcare to the tri-state community for over 40 years. If you’re experiencing allergy-like symptoms, we encourage you schedule a consultation at one of our offices today.