Allergy Testing Patient Instructions


Skin testing is the primary method we use to test for allergic antibodies. A test consists of introducing small amounts of the suspected substance, allergen, into the skin and recording the response 20 minutes after application. A positive reaction consists of a wheal (swelling). You will be skin tested to important regional airborne allergens. Examples include trees, grasses, weeds, dust mites, mold spores, and animal danders. The skin testing appointment takes approximately 30-40 minutes. Prick-puncture tests will be performed on your forearms and intradermal tests on your upper arms. If you have a specific allergic sensitivity to an allergen, a red, raised, itchy hive (caused from histamine release into the skin) appears on your skin within 15-20 minutes. These positive reactions, which will itch, will gradually disappear over 30-60 minutes, and, typically, no treatment is necessary. Occasionally local swelling at a test site will begin 4 to 8 hours after the skin tests, particularly at the sites of the intradermal tests. These reactions are not serious and will gradually disappear over the next week or so.

 

MEDICATIONS YOU NEED TO STOP BEFORE TESTING

Antihistamines block the histamine response making the tests inaccurate. No prescription or over-the-counter antihistamines should be used for 5 days prior to the scheduled skin testing. These include cold tablets, sinus tablets, hay fever medications, or oral treatments for itchy skin. Some of the names of these drugs include Actifed, Allegra, Benadryl, Triaminic (some forms), PediaCare (some forms), Rondec, Cardec, Zyrtec, Claritin, Clarinex, Alavert, and others including Astelin nasal spray, over-the-counter sleep aids, and most allergy eye drops (IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT A MEDICATION YOU ARE TAKING PLEASE DON'T HESITATE TO CALL OUR OFFICE).

 

ALLERGY - ASTHMA MEDICATIONS THAT SHOULD BE CONTINUED

ALL asthma medications

Nasal sprays, except for Astelin nasal spray

 

IMPORTANT MEDICATIONS TO INFORM US IF YOU ARE TAKING

Beta -blocker: Examples: Lopressor [metoprolol], Coreg [carvedilol], Tenormin [atenolol], some glaucoma eye drops

Some antidepressants or Monoamine oxidase inhibitor.

 

OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION

 Fasting is not necessary, but please avoid sunburns or excessive sun exposure immediately before allergy testing.
 Wear a loose fitting short sleeve shirt as we will need access to both arms
 Please bring in a list of your current medications
 Please let us know if:
o You are or possibly are pregnant
o Wheezing or have a fever

Skin testing is normally a very safe procedure, however, in some rare situations a severe allergic reaction may occur. These reactions may consist of one or more of the following symptoms: itchy eyes, nose, or throat; nasal congestion; runny nose; tightness in the throat or chest; increased wheezing; lightheadedness; faintness; nausea and vomiting; hives; generalized itching; and shock, the latter under very extreme circumstances. A severe reaction to skin testing is not likely to occur, but if one would occur, a physician and medical staff are available and trained to treat you.

If the test is to be performed on a child we may give a prescription for EMLA cream to be applied on the child's arm before he/she presents to the office. Please apply the cream 45 minutes before the scheduled test, and then wrap the arm with saran plastic wrap.

If an adult is the patient, we request that you do not bring small children with you when you are scheduled for skin testing unless they are accompanied by another adult who can sit with them in the reception room.

Anyone 17 years of age or younger, must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian during the entire procedure and visit with the physician. If a patient under 17 years of age is not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, a written consent must be signed by the parent or legal guardian.

If you are on a managed care health plan, please contact your primary care physician to initiate this referral.

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Office Hours
Monday:8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday:8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday:8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday:8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday:8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Saturday:Closed
Sunday:Closed