What is Allergy Skin Testing?

Allergy skin testing, or skin prick test, checks for immediate allergic reactions to multiple substances at once.  The test is typically done to identify the source of allergic symptoms, including pollen, mold, pet dander, dust mites, and foods.  The test is typically done on the back of most children. 

In order to perform the test, your child must be off all antihistamines for around one week.  Please read the packet that will be sent to you prior to the appointment for specific instructions.  The test uses small needles (lancets) to scratch the skin surface with the allergen. It is not typically painful, and your child won't bleed or feel more than mild, momentary discomfort.  These tests usually take around 15 minutes to place, and then they must sit on the skin for 15 minutes.  This can be an "itchy" process for some of our patients.  Once we have read the test, we can provide some relief with topical steroids in the clinic, and we will remove the tests with alcohol.  If tests are positive, you will see a raised, red, itchy bump (wheal) that may look like a mosquito bite. 

Based on these results, your allergist/immunologist will provide a detailed plan that includes avoidance measures for specific allergens and treatment options that will vary depending on the positive tests and the reason for testing.