Allergy skin testing helps our Austin allergists determine what allergens are causing your symptoms
If you or your child suffers from allergy symptoms, our Austin allergists may suggest allergy skin testing. We use this form of testing to help us diagnose respiratory problems such as hay fever, allergic asthma, and skin conditions such as eczema. Testing can help determine if you have seasonal allergies, food allergies, medication allergies, allergies to insect venom or a latex allergy.
There are 3 types of allergy skin testing:
- Multi-Test® II skin Testing
- Intradermal skin testing
- The patch test
Testing is relatively fast and painless for most people. Most adults are tested on their forearms, but sometimes children are tested on their upper backs. There are a few steps to each type of allergy skin testing.
Multi-Test® skin testing
Our Austin allergists want to make allergy skin testing as quick and easy as possible, so we primarily employ the Multi-Test® II method of testing. The Multi-Test® II device allows us to administer eight allergens at one time, making it possible to test for eight allergens in just two seconds, which means we can apply 72 different allergens to the skin in 30 seconds, much faster than other methods of skin testing. After the Multi-Test II is used for allergy skin testing, we wait approximately 15 to 20 minutes to see if the patient has any noticeable reactions such as redness, raised bumps, also known as wheals, or swelling. The test administrator records the results for evaluation.
Intradermal skin testing
The intradermal skin test, or skin injection test, is very similar to the more traditional IgE or skin prick test. For this type of allergy skin testing, the allergen extracts are injected into the skin vs. being pricked in with a lancet. Otherwise, the steps of the test are the same as the IgE allergy skin testing. Our Austin allergists often use this test if your IgE test failed to show reactions and they still suspect that you have allergies. It’s also used to help diagnose medication allergies, such as penicillin, or allergies to insect venom.
The patch allergy skin testing
The patch test is a type of allergy skin testing that does not involve lancets or needles. It’s often used to diagnose allergies that may cause skin conditions such as contact dermatitis or eczema. For a patch test, the allergen extract is applied to patches that are applied to the skin the back for 48 hours. Patients return to our office after 48 hours so we can remove the patches and check for allergic reactions. We do a final reading after 72 hours.
Allergy skin testing is generally safe for everyone and usually produces few problems or side effects other than red, raised bumps, or wheals, which can itch.
Our Austin allergists and staff have extensive experience with allergy skin testing
Allergy skin testing is an important diagnostic tool for our Austin allergists. All testing is supervised by one of our board-certified allergists, which is very important since there are rare events when testing can produce a severe and immediate reaction which requires the proper medications and emergency equipment. Contact us today for more information.