What to Expect During Allergy Testing

If you have had an allergic reaction and aren’t sure what caused it, allergy testing is a must. Even if you suspect that you know what you are allergic to, many people find out they were mistaken when allergy testing is performed. There are two main types of skin testing for allergies—skin scratch testing and intradermal skin testing. Sometimes, both of these tests are performed together.

The Difference Between the Two

Skin scratch testing and intradermal skin testing are similar in some ways, but very different in how they are performed. With skin scratch testing, the allergens are placed on the skin and then a needle is used to introduce the allergen beneath the skin with a scratch. With intradermal skin testing, the allergen is directly inserted under the skin with a needle.

What Will Happen at Allergy Testing

When you go in for allergy testing, the doctor will choose the site for the skin testing. It is usually done on the forearm, although it may also be done on the back. The area is swabbed with alcohol to clean and disinfect the skin before the allergens are introduced. About fifteen minutes after the allergen is introduced, the doctor will take careful note of the results.

Usually, skin scratch testing is tried first. If you don’t have a reaction to an allergen but the doctor suspects a false negative, they will then use the intradermal skin testing, which can be more accurate. After the skin scratch testing, the area will be cleaned again with alcohol to remove the traces of the allergens. With intradermal skin testing, you may experience allergic symptoms for a few hours after the test, but an antihistamine usually helps with the symptoms.

Don’t the Needles Hurt?

Skin scratch testing is frequently painless for the patient. It really does feel just like a scratch, something barely noticeable. Intradermal skin testing is a bit more uncomfortable, as the needle is actually piercing the skin. It usually presents just as a tiny prick, though, and doesn’t cause a significant amount of pain. Once the allergen is no longer in your system, you won’t have any discomfort at all.

If you have had allergies present themselves and you aren’t sure what you might be allergic to, allergy testing can help you cope with your allergies and avoid the allergens that cause them. Contact us today for allergy testing in Florida.