Skin Tests

Your allergy-free journey starts here

skin test

What are skin tests?

If you are experiencing allergy symptoms or reactions but are unsure of the substance causing you pain, skin tests can identify the exact allergen in just a single visit. By administering a skin test, your provider can check for allergic reactions to over 50 different substances at once, such as pollen, mold, foods, pet dander, and dust mites. Skin test results give your provider the proper data they need to develop a customized treatment plan that builds your allergen immunity over time.

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Types of skin tests

Needle-Free Scratch Test

We’re not in the business of causing you any more pain than you are already in. That’s why we’re proud to offer skin testing without invasive needles. Instead, your provider uses a small plastic device that applies tiny amounts of allergens to your forearm with a quick scratch or prick. If you’re allergic to one or more of the applied substances, a small spot will develop on the skin within 15-20 minutes. Swelling usually subsides within 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Patch Test

If you are dealing with symptoms from a contact allergen, such as poison ivy, your provider may recommend a patch test. After adding a variety of allergens to a small patch, your provider will then place it to the skin on your back or forearm. You’ll typically wear the patch for two days before returning to the office. At your second visit, your provider will check for skin reactions such as bumps and swelling. Because some substances cause delayed reactions, you may be asked to wear the patch an additional 3-4 days.

Dr. Shah talking to patient

How to prepare for a skin test

Before your skin test appointment, take a moment to consider your pain points and reactions to different substances. By providing your medical history, signs and symptoms, and current treatment methods, your doctor can determine if allergies run in your family and if an allergic reaction is most likely causing you pain. To search for additional signs that point to an allergic reaction, your provider may perform a physical examination before your skin test. With all of this information, your provider can get a thorough understanding of your allergies and begin to outline a tailored treatment plan that fits your unique needs and lifestyle.

What to expect during a skin test

1.

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For a scratch test, your provider will place a tiny amount of allergen to the skin and administer a small prick to expose the skin. If you opt for a patch test, your provider will apply allergens to the patch and place it on your skin to wear for 48 hours.

2.

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If you react to one of the allergens from the scratch test, your skin will swell slightly in the treated area within 15 minutes. Patch test patients will return to the office after 48 hours to remove the patch and check for swelling and reactions.

3.

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Your skin test reactions will help your provider discover your exact allergy. After determining these results, your provider will outline a variety of treatment plans, including immunotherapy, to set you on the path toward an allergy-free life.

Frequently asked questions

What happens if the skin test shows I have allergies?

If your skin test shows an allergic reaction, you are one step closer to becoming symptom-free. At this time, your provider will craft a unique plan to prevent and treat symptoms so you can live life without allergies once and for all. Our allergy immunotherapy and food immunotherapy programs are designed to train your immune system to become less and less sensitive to the substances that cause a reaction.

After testing positive for one or more allergies, avoid or limit contact with your allergens to the best of your ability. For example, if you are allergic to pet dander, avoid coming in contact with cats, dogs, and other furry creatures. Your provider may prescribe medication such as decongestants, nasal sprays, antihistamines, or eye drops to temporarily relieve your symptoms.

Are skin tests safe?

Skin tests are a completely safe way to diagnose your allergies. Because your provider is testing miniscule amounts of allergens to the skin in a sterile and controlled environment, you can rest assured that this quick and minimally invasive procedure is safe and effective. During the test, your provider will monitor you closely for a possible severe allergic reaction, which is extremely rare.

Does health insurance cover skin testing for allergies?

While many health insurance plans cover allergy testing and treatment plans, be sure to connect with your carrier first. Insurance policies do differ, and it’s up to the patient to understand their coverage. Consult with your provider so you know exactly what’s covered and what will likely be out-of-pocket.

Dr. Shah