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Skin Prick Allergy Test

Skin prick allergy testing is a procedure used to test for severe allergic reactions. These allergy tests are performed on adult patients as well as children, however, both need to be exhibiting symptoms of allergies to warrant an allergy test.

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Everything you need to know

Skin prick allergy testing is a procedure used to test for severe allergic reactions. These allergy tests are performed on adult patients as well as children, however, both need to be exhibiting symptoms of allergies to warrant an allergy test.

Allergies – and allergy symptoms – can vary from person to person. As such, we’ve listed a few of the most common allergy causes below. If yours isn’t mentioned, contact us to see if we’re able to accommodate your needs. The most common causes of allergies we test for are:

  • Animals
  • Pollen
  • House dust mite
  • Food

Before

Prior to your allergy skin tests, you’ll need to make an initial appointment. For some severe allergic reactions, you may have an initial appointment to ensure that an allergic reaction is the issue and not something else; if you’re suffering, the doctor may also prescribe emergency medicines to help curb your symptoms.

24 hours before your skin test appointment, make sure you haven’t taken any antihistamines. As these medicines are designed to suppress your allergic reactions, they can interfere with the skin test results.

During

The skin prick test won’t take very long. In fact, a skin prick test causes little pain (only an allergic reaction) and most patients receive their test results immediately. Whereas other tests, like blood tests, require time for the sample to be sent away and tested.

The skin prick testing procedure typically follows this system:

  1. First, a nurse or doctor will take your forearm and write letters or numbers on it. Each symbol will directly correspond to the allergen being tested.
  2. Next, the nurse or doctor will then drop a bit of the solution next to each letter. Each drop will contain a different allergen – this will allow us to test which allergen produces a positive reaction or a negative (an allergic) one.
  3. The nurse or doctor will then use a small metal instrument to touch each drop, many people equate this to a small scratch, this is done so that the allergen seeps into the skin.
  4. Afterwards, the nurse or doctor will blot the solution off the skin and send you to the waiting room for 10 – 15 minutes. During this time, you may notice that your skin begins to form a reaction – for example, it may feel itchy or get tight.
  5. Once the time is up, you’ll be called back into the room and the nurse or doctor will measure the size of each reaction. Based on the severity and size of each of the skin reactions, the nurse or doctor will be able to offer a diagnosis and come up with an appropriate treatment plan.

After

Any skin rashes or other allergy reactions will disappear two to three hours after the skin prick allergy test.

After your skin prick tests, you should be able to take your regular allergy medicine.

Due to the nature of skin prick testing, you will receive your results during the examination. From the test results, the doctor will be able to prescribe solutions such as:

  • Tablets
  • Inhalers
  • Creams

Unfortunately, allergic reactions aren’t something that you can cure. However, if you have a positive reaction to the medication there is no reason why you won’t be able to live a normal life free, for most people, of any allergy reaction.

How to pay for your treatment

If you’re… paying for yourself

Did you know you don’t need private medical insurance to come to St John & St Elizabeth Hospital? As a self-pay patient, you can access safe, outstanding quality health care at times to suit you.

For scans and tests, as well as to see most consultants, you’ll still need to be referred by a medical professional like your GP, but as a self-pay patient, the process is more straightforward. You won’t need authorisation from an insurance provider, and you’ll have greater choice of consultant and appointment times.

If you’re… insured

St John & St Elizabeth Hospital is approved by all major medical insurance companies. If you have a personal private health insurance policy, or your company provide it for you, you can use it to pay for your care from your initial consultation through to treatment, surgery and aftercare such as physiotherapy. Not all private health insurance plans cover the same things. It’s very important to check exactly what you are covered for with your insurance provider.