Skip to content

    Allergies Health Center

    Select An Article

    If You Get Skin Testing for Allergies

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    To avoid an allergic reaction, you need to know you're allergic to. Skin testing one way your doctor can check on what causes your symptoms.

    These tests use extracts (a concentrated liquid form) of common allergens such as pollen, mold, dust mites, animal dander, and foods. Once those get in your skin, they could trigger a rash. Your skin will get irritated and may itch, like a mosquito bite.

    Recommended Related to Allergies

    The Weather: Wreaking Havoc on Health

    We all know people who blame the weather for their achy joints, killer headaches, and many other health woes. But proving these claims has been a bit more elusive. In recent years, however, scientists have become increasingly interested in attempting to understand just how various weather extremes and changing patterns affect our health. Many experts say that weather does account for some adverse health symptoms. WebMD talked to experts to learn just what is known about weather's role on our health...

    Read the The Weather: Wreaking Havoc on Health article > >

    That reaction is how the doctor can tell you're allergic to something. When you have an allergy, your immune system will make antibodies and set off chemicals to fight off the trigger.

    What Happens During a Skin Test?

    The steps vary depending on what type of test you're having. There are three main ways to get allergens to react with your skin.

    Scratch test, also known as a puncture or prick test: First, your doctor or nurse will look at the skin on your forearm or back and clean it with alcohol. They'll mark and label areas on your skin with a pen. Then they'll place a drop of a potential allergen on each of those spots. Next, they'll prick the outer layer of your skin to let the allergen in. (It's not a shot, and it won't make you bleed.)

    Intradermal test: After they look at and clean your skin, the doctor or nurse will inject a small amount of allergen just under your skin.

    Patch test: Your doctor could put an allergen on a patch and then stick that on your arm or back.

    Plan for an hour-long appointment. The pricking part of scratch and intradermal tests takes about 5 to 10 minutes. Then you'll wait about 15 minutes to see how your skin reacts.

    Patch tests take more time, and two visits to your doctor. You'll have to wear a patch for about 48 hours in case you have a delayed reaction to the allergen.

    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    man blowing nose
    Make these tweaks to your diet, home, and lifestyle.
    Allergy capsule
    Breathe easier with these products.
     
    cat on couch
    Live in harmony with your cat or dog.
    Woman sneezing with tissue in meadow
    Which ones affect you?
     

    blowing nose
    Article
    woman with sore throat
    Article
     
    lone star tick
    Slideshow
    Woman blowing nose
    Slideshow
     

    Send yourself a link to download the app.

    Loading ...

    Please wait...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    cat lying on shelf
    Article
    Allergy prick test
    VIDEO
     
    Man sneezing into tissue
    Assessment
    Woman holding feather duster up to face, twitching
    Quiz