Whether you're susceptible to regular, irregular, or seasonal allergies, getting an allergy skin test done can help you identify exactly what's causing your allergic symptoms so you can minimize your exposure and therefore your symptoms as time goes on. Here are the basics you should know about getting an allergy skin test done:
The Initial Consultation
You can expect to sit down with your allergy test doctor one-on-one and discuss your medical history as well as the allergy symptoms that you tend to experience throughout the year. Your doctor will make sure they understand everything that has already been done to try and treat your allergy symptoms, and determine whether an allergy skin test would be an appropriate measure to take in order to find out what kinds of allergies you're suffering from.
If it's determined that a food or blood test is more appropriate, your doctor will walk you through your options and help you decide which option would best meet your specific needs. Otherwise, they'll walk you through the the skin test process so you know exactly what to expect when your testing actually takes place.
Choosing a Type of Skin Test
There are a few different types of skin tests your doctor may offer you the opportunity to undergo depending on a few health factors. After being screened during your consultation, your doctor may choose to offer one or more of the following test options to you:
The Skin Prick Test – Allergic reactions to several different substances can be tested for at the same time. Results are identified by the immediate reaction of your skin to the substances being tested for.
The Skin Injection Test – A tiny amount of allergen substance is injected into the surface of the skin and then the skin is examined for allergic reaction. Especially helpful for the testing of animal venom allergies.
The Skin Patch Test – Delayed allergic reactions can be tested for placing a patch with allergens infused into it on the skin for a period of time, sometimes for a day or two.
Receiving and Understanding the Results
You may or may not receive the results of your allergy skin test right away depending on the type of test you and your doctor decide to do. But if you don't get your results right away, you can expect to receive them within the week. Your doctor may ask you to keep a close eye on the test area for a day or two after your test is completed to make sure that no changes develop over time.
Once your results are ready, your doctor can hopefully determine exactly what it is that's causing your allergic reactions. You may then be prescribed medication to keep your allergy symptoms under control. And your doctor might request that you make some lifestyle changes to avoid exposure to allergens you're susceptible to. If your test comes back inconclusive, you'll likely be asked to schedule another consultation appointment so you can decide which steps to take next.