What Happens During a Skin Test/Allergy Test?
To test for allergies, we use the industry standard skin testing technique. Skin testing involves introducing a variety of suspected antigens or allergy-producing substances onto the skin through tiny plastic scratches. The test begins with the medical provider cleaning your skin on your back with an alcohol swab. This may feel cool and slightly wet. The medical provider will then gently press a M.A.S.T., or Multiple Allergy Skin Testing applicator onto the skin. The M.A.S.T. is a small eight-pronged comb with tiny tines at the end of it.
As the first set of antigens is applied to your skin, you’ll feel slight pressure from the tines of the testing device. This will last for just a few seconds and then be repeated in a few areas, depending on how many antigens are tested that day. You can expect a slight itching sensation as the positive results develop. The size of the reaction, both the wheal and flare (raised lump and surrounding inflammation), will be recorded at the end of 15 minutes.
It is a good idea to bring an iPad or a new toy for your child to look at during the 15-minute test, as it is a good distraction. It is important that the back is not scratched during this time. After 15 minutes, the back is wiped clean of the antigens. Hydrocortisone and Benadryl or Zyrtec are offered at the end of the appointment to ease any discomfort. The medical provider then will explain the results and discuss your options for treatment, if applicable.
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