ALLERGY SKIN TESTS DEFINITION
An allergy skin test involves the testing of which allergy-causing substances (allergens) you're allergic to or not by exposing your skin to these suspected agents. You're then observed for any signs of allergic reaction (redness, wheals, eczema, and so forth). It'll confirm whether or not a certain substance you eat, breathe, or touch is causing you allergic symptoms.
ALLERGY SKIN TESTS PURPOSE
Allergy skin tests are done in order to help a patient avoid any allergens that could potentially endanger his life. It also helps doctors prescribe allergen shots or the right kind of medicinal substitute (for example, if a patient is allergic to penicillin, then the doctor will instead prescribe erythromycin medication instead).
ALLERGY SKIN TESTS RISKS
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The risks directly associated with the allergy skin test include severe, immediate allergic reaction that requires hasty medical attention or a minor reaction involving wheals or swollen, red, and itchy skin bumps that may persist in a day or so or go away within a few hours.
ALLERGY SKIN TESTS PREPARATION REQUIRED
Before undergoing the procedure, you doctor will first need to get your medical history in order to fully evaluate whether allergies run in your family or if an allergic reaction is the cause of your symptoms.
ALLERGY SKIN TESTS PROCEDURE
Also known as the scratch test, puncture test, and skin prick test, the skin allergy test uses lancets or needles that barely penetrate your skin's surface in order to test your allergic reactions to as many as 40 different substances in one go. Children are typically tested on the upper back, while adults are usually tested on the forearm.
ALLERGY SKIN TESTS COMPLICATIONS
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If you develop a severe allergic reaction days after the test, call your nearest healthcare professional immediately. On rare occasions, the skin test itself can produce a quick and severe allergic reaction, so it's important that emergency equipment and medications are on standby while these skin tests are being performed.
ALLERGY SKIN TESTS SIDE EFFECTS
Immediate side effects include swelling, irritated, and red bumps called wheals that are most noticeable during the test when a positive allergic reaction. This can persist for a day or two or as little as several hours, plus it can be treated with cortisone cream.
ALLERGY SKIN TESTS RESULTS
A positive skin test means you're allergic to the substances you reacted to. Bigger wheals usually mean greater allergic sensitivity. A negative test means zero reaction and you not being allergic to the substance. There's risk for false positives or false negatives, though.