Testing for allergies is typically done at your doctor’s office and takes anywhere fro 20-40 minutes in most cases. While there are some tests that are designed to test allergic reactions immediately, others are design to detect allergic reactions that occur over a gradual period. If you are preparing to have a test, here is some information on what to expect from two of the most common types.
Skin Prick Testing
This is also known as a “scratch” or “puncture” test, and used to look for immediate reactions to several different types of substances. For example, this form of testing for allergies will be used to identify dust mites, certain foods, pet dander, mold, pollen and others. The test is usually performed on the forearm in adults and on the upper back in children.
The skin prick test is not painful – at most you will feel mild discomfort for a moment. Once the site of the test is cleaned with alcohol, small marks will be made on the skin. A small drop of allergen extract will be applied to each mark, and then a lancet will be used to apply the allergen into the surface of the skin. The area will then be observed for about 15 minutes to see if any reactions develop.
Patch Testing for Allergies
The patch test is usually performed in order to detect allergic reactions that usually develop over several days. Instead of using a needle, your nurse or doctor will apply an allergen to a patch which will then be placed on the skin. You may be exposed to as many as 20-30 extracts of different substances that are known to cause reactions. These may include resins, fragrances, medications, preservatives and others. Most patients will wear patches for a couple of days before the skin is checked for reactions.
Schedule Allergy Testing
If you would like to learn more about testing for allergies or schedule an appointment, call McKinney ENT Clinic at (214) 383-5955 to schedule an appointment or contact us online for more information.