Skin testing is used to detect allergy to multiple allergens including pollens, foods, stinging insects, and medications which is commonly performed in an allergist’s office. A positive skin test is associated with your body producing antibodies to a particular allergen.
There are two ways of performing this procedure. In the prick-puncture test, the allergen is introduced into the superficial part of the skin with a hand-held device. A reaction occurs that is characterized by a bump (wheal) and surrounding redness (flare). The diameter of the bump and redness are measured in millimeters after 15-20 minutes. In the intradermal testing, a small amount of allergen is injected with a very fine needle. The intradermal test is read in the same way as the prick-puncture test after 15-20 minutes. It is extremely important to stop taking antihistamines prior to your skin testing session.
The interpretation of the test results by your AAATS board-certified allergist is often complex. A positive skin test only represents sensitization (the presence of IgE antibody to an allergen), but does not confirm the presence of allergic disease. Your AAATS board-certified allergist will take your clinical history as well as many other factors into consideration in this interpretation.
According to the U.S. Joint Council of Allergy and the European Academy of Allergy and Immunology, prick-puncture tests are considered to be the most convenient and least expensive way to detect allergies. If you have any further questions about these tests, feel free to contact us.