A skin prick test is an accurate and reliable allergy test that can be used to diagnose allergies.
It is a simple and quick test that can generate results in 20 minutes.
How Does Skin Prick Test Work?
Skin prick test is usually performed on the inner forearm or upper back.
After cleaning and marking the area, tiny lancets that barely penetrate the skin surface will be used to introduce a minute amount of the allergens into the skin.
There will be no bleeding and most patients report only mild discomfort at the test area which subsides quickly.
Your skin may itch where the allergen is placed if you have a sensitivity to the particular allergen.
After 20 minutes, your skin will be observed for specific skin reactions, known as wheals.
Wheals appear as red, raised and itchy bumps that may look like mosquito bites. The bump’s size will then be measured to confirm the allergic reaction
Oral anti histamine medication should be avoided for at least 7 days prior to the test as it may affect the results.
The amount of allergens test on the skin is minimal. Hence, severe reaction to skin prick test is extremely rare.
Skin Prick Test May Not Be Suitable For
However, skin prick test may not be suitable for those following :
1) who have had life-threatening allergic reactions to certain allergens because the test would be too risky for them.
2) severe eczema or psoriasis on the areas that will be used for a skin prick test
3) or if you are unable to stop oral anti histamine medication prior to the test.
In such cases, an allergy blood test will be a more suitable alternative.