Skin testing is a quick and easy way to assess allergen sensitivities. When you are skin tested, you will have your results before you leave the office. Testing usually takes approximately one hour and is performed in two parts. AAPRI also conducts special testing for medication and food challenges. Details of these types of tests will be reviewed at your appointment. We ask that patients stop ALL antihistamines four (4) days prior to skin testing. There are other medications that may affect testing— AAPRI will provide an informational sheet as to what medications to avoid.
Prick and Intradermal Testing
The first part of the testing is performed using the prick testing method. This is not a scratching of the skin, but rather a poke to your skin using a sharp prong. Each prong used has a different allergen solution on it, and we will determine how many prick tests are to be performed based upon what we are attempting to find. Once the prick test has been performed, the results of the test will be read after 15 minutes. Typically, a patient will get a “mosquito bite” type of response to any allergen they show sensitivity to.
The second part of the testing is called intradermal skin testing. This test is performed on your upper arm area, which is less sensitive, therefore, testing is generally tolerated without incident. You will receive a certain amount of intradermal tests depending upon the results of the initial prick test. As with the prick test, the results will be read after 15 minutes. Please expect to keep any markings made with pen by our office for a period of up to 48 hours to assess any possible delayed responses.
Testing for Children
AAPRI also performs skin testing on children. The prick test performed on children is performed on their back and, depending upon the child’s age, intradermal testing may take place as well. If the intradermal portion is required, AAPRI may prescribe a numbing cream for the child.
If you are interested in learning more about allergy skin testing, contact the Asthma & Allergy Physicians of Rhode Island clinics directly for more information.