Understanding Skin Prick Testing

Have you ever seen a person in a restaurant or public place eat something and then start having a serious allergic reaction? You might have even heard someone shout for an EpiPen.

This is what is known as anaphylaxis; it occurs when you ingest food or medication that you are allergic to. Such an allergic reaction can lead to swelling of your tongue and throat that can lead to suffocation. You can even break out in hives or rashes on different areas of your body, especially your face, neck, arms, chest and back.

Don't let this be you; visit a qualified dermatologist to find out what you are allergic to. The dermatologist may need to carry out a skin prick test. Here's what you need to know about skin prick testing:

What Is Skin Prick Testing?

This is a test done on your skin to find out what substances you might be allergic to. Your dermatologist mostly uses the skin on your arm or back.

Before skin prick testing is performed, a competent dermatologist asks you various questions to get a detailed history of your health. This is crucial in minimising risks and getting the correct results.

How A Skin Prick Test Is Performed

The first thing your dermatologist does is a control test to find out whether you have sensitive skin or whether your skin will react to an allergen. He or she might use glycerine and saline for the control test. If the tests are successful, he or she proceeds with skin prick testing. If the control test is not successful, you might not be a good candidate for skin prick testing. A different allergy test may be recommended that might require blood drawing.

Markings are made on the skin to label different allergens to be tested. A drop of each allergen is then placed next to the marking and your skin is scratched. The scratch is mainly to allow the allergen to get into your skin and provoke a reaction. It is not painful, but you can feel some slight discomfort.

The dermatologist then identifies which allergen provokes a reaction and marks it as one of the substances you are allergic to.

Some of these allergens might provoke a serious reaction; that is why it is recommended that you have a skin prick test done by a qualified dermatologist at an equipped lab. If you have a severe reaction, he or she can treat it quickly.

To learn more about skin prick testing, contact a dermatology office like Darwin Dermatology.