How Does Skin Allergy Testing Work?

Mar 15, 2023
How Does Skin Allergy Testing Work?
You know you struggle with allergies, but do you know what’s triggering them? Here, we offer some insight into what skin allergy testing is and how it works.

There are over 50 million people in the United States living with allergies. Allergies happen when your body’s immune system reacts to something that’s normally harmless, like pollen or certain foods. These things that cause allergic reactions are called allergens, and when your body comes into contact with them, you can develop symptoms like a cough, runny nose, or itchy and watery eyes. 

To figure out what exactly you’re allergic to, you need to have your symptoms and medical history reviewed along with undergoing allergy testing. At Allergy and Asthma Institute of SE Michigan,  Chad W. Mayer, DO, FAAAAI, FAAP, Ronda Barak-Norris, MD, FACAAI, and the rest of our professional team offer skin allergy testing to help you get to the bottom of what’s causing your allergic reactions.

Why you might need allergy testing

You qualify for allergy testing if you’ve ever had one of the following reactions:

Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen or dust that causes symptoms like headaches, itchy eyes, nasal congestion, and a sore throat.

Food allergy reaction

A food allergy reaction can happen within 30 minutes of eating certain foods, causing symptoms like hives, vomiting, shortness of breath, and dizziness.

Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis occurs when your skin comes in contact with a substance that can result in a burning sensation on your skin along with a rash.

These are the most common allergic reactions and warrant a need for allergy testing.

How it works

There are three types of skin allergy testing that we offer at Allergy and Asthma Institute of SE Michigan.

  1. Skin prick test

A skin prick test can detect almost every type of allergen, except for contact allergies. We dip a small disposable device in the potential allergen and prick your skin with it. This process is then repeated multiple times for whatever allergens you need to be tested for.

After the pricking process is done, you wait for 15 minutes while we keep an eye on your skin. If a bump starts to develop at the prick site, it means you’re allergic to that substance. The size of the bump determines how sensitive you are to that substance.

  1. Intradermal skin test

For this type of test, we inject a small amount of the allergen into your skin. Much like the skin prick test, we closely monitor your skin for a reaction. This type of test is used for insect, penicillin, and environmental allergies. It can also be ordered if your skin prick test was negative or inconclusive, but you still have clear signs of allergic reactions.

  1. Skin patch test

Skin patch tests look for contact allergies. This is done by putting the allergen on an adhesive patch and placing that patch on your skin for two days. Then the patch is removed to look for any reaction.

All of these tests provide quick results, allowing our team to customize your treatment plan promptly. Allergy treatment includes medications and avoidance of allergy triggers.

To learn more about our allergy skin testing, contact our office located in Farmington Hills, Michigan, by phone, or book an appointment online with our team today.