Why Skin Testing Is the Best Form of Allergy Testing

Your immune system is a complex defense mechanism. It’s your body’s way of protecting you from bacteria, viruses, and other microbes that can make you sick.

But if you have an allergy, your immune system attacks an otherwise harmless substance — like tree nuts or pollen — and you experience an allergic reaction. Your body recognizes this substance as a threat, triggering your immune system to fight it off.

Mild to moderate allergies might produce rashes, watery eyes, or abdominal pain. More severe allergies could cause symptoms ranging from fever to anaphylactic shock, which is a life-threatening medical condition.

If you experience symptoms of allergic reactions but you don’t know what’s causing them, allergy testing helps you identify what you might be allergic to. At Allergy & Environmental Treatment Center, LLC, our doctors specialize in extremely accurate intradermal skin tests.

How allergy skin testing works

There are a few different types of skin tests: scratch, patch, and intradermal skin testing. Intradermal skin testing is the best form of allergy testing because it’s precise and it delivers consistent results. 

Scratch testing involves lightly puncturing your skin and introducing a liquid that contains a specific allergen. After starting the scratch test, your provider observes your skin for signs of reaction.

In a patch test, your provider applies adhesive patches with allergens to your skin. You go home and wear the patches for several days, after which your skin is reviewed for signs of allergic reaction. 

Our team at Allergy & Environmental Treatment Center, LLC prefers comprehensive, effective intradermal skin testing. Your doctor injects a very small amount of an allergen just below the surface of your skin and closely monitors your reaction.

Because intradermal testing introduces the allergen in the dermis layer of skin, reactions are often visible shortly after the test begins. This method also allows our team to determine a safe starting point for immunotherapy once we identify your allergens.

What to expect during your Allergy Skin Testing Session

Our doctors regularly recommend skin testing for people of ages 8 and older. If you think you might have an allergy, we work with you to determine the possible substances triggering your reactions.

We begin by cleansing the area we’ll use for your allergy tests — typically on your deltoid area. Then, your doctor prepares a small injection with a diluted form of a suspected allergen.

They inject the solution just below the surface of your skin, and you wait for 5-10 minutes while they watch your skin. If you have an allergy, a raised, red welt or hive appears around the injection site.  They also will look at any delayed reactions the next day which offers a thorough and comprehensive approach to allergy testing.  Based upon what tests are ordered, you will begin to see what allergens affect you and the symptoms associated with those allergens.

Designing an allergy treatment plan

Once we identify your allergens, we work with you to develop your treatment plan. Immunotherapy is a popular and effective treatment option for many different allergens. It involves repeatedly exposing your body to the allergen so that it decreases your immune response and reactionary symptoms over time, thus decreasing the inflammatory process and mitigating miserable allergy symptoms.

Other approaches include trigger avoidance, lifestyle changes for environmental or airborne allergens, and dietary changes for food allergies/sensitivities.

Do you have allergy symptoms? You don’t have to keep wondering what’s causing them. Schedule a consultation for allergy testing at Allergy & Environmental Treatment Center, LLC. Contact our team online, or call 480-634-2985 for an appointment.

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