Allergy Skin Testing

Alternate Names

  • Prick-Puncture Test
  • Intradermal Test

Allergy Skin Testing is the easiest and cheapest method of diagnosing allergies, and is also very sensitive and specific to suspected causes of allergies (allergens). A tiny amount of allergen is injected into the skin of your arm, and the reaction is then measured. The development of a wheal (swelling) and a flare (redness) is the immediate reaction to the allergen, and will usually be seen within 5 minutes. Some people will have a delayed reaction (late-phase reaction) within one to two hours after the test.

Allergy skin testing is done by two different methods. The first method is the prick-puncture test, where the allergen is injected into the epidermis (the top layer of the skin). Anaphylactic reactions can be avoided using this method. The second method is the intradermal test, where the allergen is injected deeper into the skin (dermis). Anaphylaxis and serious reactions to allergens have been reported with this test.

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