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Skin Testing for Allergies

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Does an Allergy Skin Test Hurt?

The allergy skin test may be mildly irritating, but most people say it doesn't hurt too much.

Is an Allergy Skin Test Safe?

Although small amounts of allergens are introduced into your system, an allergy skin test is safe when performed properly. Systemic (whole body) reactions to skin testing are extremely rare.

What Happens After the Allergy Skin Test?

After the allergy skin test, any extracts and ink marks will be cleaned off your skin with alcohol. A mild cortisone cream may be applied to your skin to relieve any excessive itching at the sites of the skin pricks.

If you are having a patch test done, you will go home with bandages on your arm or back that you will wear for about 48 hours. You must avoid getting these areas wet, unless otherwise instructed by your doctor. You will return to the doctor after this 48-hour period to be re-evaluated.

Your doctor or allergist will use the results of the test to help develop a management plan for you.

When Should I Call My Doctor?

If you're having an allergy skin test, call your doctor or emergency number immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Lightheadedness
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Extensive rash
  • Swelling of the face, lips or mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on June 25, 2012
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