Allergy skin tests are methods of testing for allergic antibodies. A test consists of introducing small amounts of the suspected substance, or allergen, into the skin and noting the development of a positive reaction (which consists of a weal, swelling, or flare in the surrounding area of redness).
The test includes these important allergens:
- seasonal pollen allergies like trees, grasses, and weeds
- year-round airborne allergies like mold, animal dander, and dust mites
- possibly some foods
The skin testing appointment generally takes 60 minutes. If you have a specific allergic sensitivity to one of the allergens, a red, raised, itchy bump (caused by histamine release into the skin) will appear on your skin within 15 minutes. These positive reactions will gradually disappear over a period of 30 to 60 minutes, and, typically, no treatment is necessary for this itchiness.
Occasionally local swelling at a test site will begin 4 to 8 hours after the skin tests are applied, particularly at sites of intradermal testing. These reactions are not serious and will disappear over the next week or so. They should be measured and reported to your physician at your next visit.
BEFORE YOUR APPOINTMENT:
You should discontinue prescription or over the counter oral antihistamines 4 to 5 days prior to scheduled skin testing. These include cold tablets, sinus tablets, hay fever medications, oral treatments for itchy skin, over the counter allergy medications, such as Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra, Actifed, Dimetapp, Benadryl, and many others.
Prescription antihistamines such as Clarinex and Xyzol should also be stopped at least 5 days prior to testing. If you have any questions about whether or not you are using an antihistamine, please ask the nurse or the doctor. In some instances, a longer period of time off these medications may be necessary.
You should discontinue your nasal and eye antihistamine medications, such as Patanase, Pataday, Astepro, Optivar, or Astelin at least 2 days before the testing. In some instances, a longer period of time off these medications may be necessary. If you have any questions about whether or not you are using an antihistamine, please ask the nurse or the doctor. In some instances, a longer period of time off these medications may be necessary.
You should discontinue over the counter sleeping medications (e.g. Tylenol PM) and other prescribed drugs, such as Ranitidine (Zantac), Pepcid (famotidine) as well as amitriptyline hydrochloride (Elavil), hydroxyzine (Atarax), doxepin (Sinequan), and imipramine (Tofranil) have antihistaminic activity and should be discontinued at least 2 weeks prior to receiving skin test after consultation with your physician. Please make the doctor or nurse aware of the fact that you are taking these medications so that you may be advised as to how long prior to testing you should stop taking them.
YOU MAY CONTINUE TO USE:
Your intranasal allergy sprays such as Flonase, Rhinocort, Nasonex, Nasacort, Omnaris, Veramyst, and Nasarel.
Your asthma inhalers (inhaled steroids and bronchodilators); leukotriene antagonists (e.g.Singulair, Accolate), and oral theophylline (Theo-Dur, T-Phyl, Uniphyl, Theo-24, etc.) do not interfere with skin testing and should be used as prescribed.
Talk to Your Doctor
Most drugs do not interfere with skin testing but make certain that your physician and nurse know about every drug you are taking (bring a list if necessary).
Connect with Our Care Team
We understand that as parents, you’ve got a lot of questions, and our care team is here to help! If you need any information on scheduling appointments or insurance, please call your clinic of choice during normal business hours.