Allergy skin tests are a safe and effective way to diagnose allergies. They are used to determine whether you are allergic to specific substances, such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, mold, foods, or insect venom.
Skin tests are usually done at an allergist's office. The allergist or nurse will press a small amount of an allergen onto your skin with a specialized skin testing device. It is not a blood test and will not cause any bleeding. If you are allergic to the allergen, you will develop a raised, red, itchy bump (wheal) at the test site. The size of the wheal will indicate how allergic you are to the allergen.
Here are some things to keep in mind about allergy skin tests:
The skin test is extremely safe, with results available within minutes.
The skin test site may itchy for a few days after the test.
What Substances are Tested for With Allergy Skin Tests?
Allergy skin tests can be used to test for a variety of substances, including:
How Are Allergy Skin Tests Interpreted?
The results of allergy skin tests are interpreted by a doctor. The doctor will look at the size of the wheals at each test site to determine how allergic you are to the allergen.
A positive skin test means that you are allergic to the allergen. A negative skin test means that you are not allergic to the allergen.
It is important to note that allergy skin tests are not always accurate. Sometimes, they can give false-positive results, which means that you will test positive for an allergy even though you are not actually allergic to the substance. Other times, they can give false-negative results, which means that you will test negative for an allergy even though you are actually allergic to the substance. This is why it is important to be tested by someone with experience in interpreting allergy skin test results.
What Are the Risks of Allergy Skin Tests?
The most common risk of allergy skin tests is a mild allergic reaction. This reaction usually manifests as a small, red, itchy bump at the test site.
If you have any concerns about the risks of allergy skin tests, talk to your doctor.
Allergy skin tests are a safe, effective, and quick way to diagnose allergies. They can help you identify the allergens causing your symptoms and develop a treatment plan to manage your allergies.