Are you down to your last straw with hay fever? Do you notice routine eczema or asthma flare-ups? Are you tired of sneezing, itching, or wondering which new allergy could add stress to your life? If so, you could benefit from an allergy skin test at Asthma Allergy Centre in Tigard, OR. These skin tests are quick, accurate, and effective at diagnosing allergic reactions, giving our doctors the first piece of information they need to recommend an appropriate treatment.
What Is an Allergy Skin Test?
An allergy skin test is one of the most important services we provide. The results give us essential information about your allergic reactions and allow us to diagnose certain conditions that may be contributing to your daily allergy symptoms. With this diagnosis, you can benefit from one of our top-quality allergy treatments and achieve long-lasting relief from common side effects of allergies.
In general, skin tests work for most patients. To best serve our patients, we offer several different kinds of skin tests. One of our experienced doctors will recommend the best test for you. A skin test can be quick, giving you results in less than an hour. It is also administered under the care of our doctors, giving you peace of mind.
The tests are completely painless, and you can expect zero downtime after your test and minimal recovery, making this test easy to fit into even the busiest schedule. Best of all, skin tests are the best way to almost instantly diagnose your allergies and get you on the path to healing and symptom management.
What Types of Skin Tests Are Available?
We offer three distinct skin tests at our professional office. Each test has been developed to diagnose a certain type or group of allergies. Your doctor will recommend the best test for you during an initial consultation.
Skin Prick Test
A skin prick test is one of the most widely used skin tests due to its instantaneous results and the broad range of allergens that can be identified in one appointment. Our doctors can use as many as 40 substances in one appointment, testing for allergic reactions to food items, pets, and environmental allergens like mold, pollen, and dust mites.
We test adults on the forearm and children on the back to maximize the skin surface area available. First, your skin is tested with histamine and saline or glycerin. These natural substances should create a mild allergic reaction or zero allergic reaction respectively. If this is not the case, your doctor will know that your skin is either less sensitive than normal or more sensitive than normal and read the results of your skin prick test accordingly to ensure an accurate diagnosis.
Next, each substance is administered to the skin, then gently scratched into the top layer with a sterilized lancet. After about 15 minutes, your skin will display any allergic reactions created by the substances, which will be recorded.
Skin Injection Test
This test is used for diagnosing allergies to penicillin or insect venom, such as the venom injected during a bee sting. A minuscule dose of the substance is injected into your arm, and you are closely monitored for any signs of an allergic reaction for about 15-20 minutes.
This reaction should appear in the surrounding skin on your arm. While this test does involve a needle, the needle we use is small and fine, and most patients report that the injections themselves are almost painless.
A patch allergy skin test is used to diagnose contact dermatitis, which is a skin irritation caused by an allergic reaction. A small amount of allergen substance is applied to each patch, which is then pressed onto your skin. In general, you will wear the patches for approximately 48 hours. You will then return to our office, where our doctors will remove the patches and record your results.
The patch test can diagnose allergic reactions and irritations caused by resins, metals, hair and food dyes, fragrances, food preservatives, medications, and latex. There is no needle or lancet required, and your doctor can administer a patch sheet with 20-30 substances at one time.
We typically test the skin on your back or arm, depending on the number of patches used during the test. It is important to avoid bathing, swimming, or strenuous activity while wearing the patches to ensure accurate results.
How Accurate Is the Skin Test for Allergies?
Diagnosing an allergic reaction can be challenging, as it is often impacted by skin sensitivity, certain medications, and other factors that must be taken into consideration. It is not as simple as administering the test and giving you the results. Instead, our doctors take great care to review your medical history, your current medications, and your general lifestyle to identify anything which may impact the accuracy of your results.
In addition, they create a baseline for skin sensitivity during the skin prick test to inform them of how to interpret your results. To give the best diagnosis, we may use a combination of tests or administer more than one test as needed. We are careful to obtain thoroughly investigated, accurate allergy skin test results for each patient before giving our professional diagnosis.
What Concerns Can Be Diagnosed?
Many common allergies can be diagnosed with a skin test, including respiratory allergies such as allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, and allergic asthma. The allergic irritation causing eczema can also be diagnosed with one of our tests. In addition, many food allergies, allergies to medications like penicillin, insect venom allergies, and latex allergies can be identified.
The patch test is especially versatile in testing to allergies to common substances like dyes and preservatives. If you have questions about which allergies can be diagnosed, one of our doctors can answer them during an initial consultation.
What’s the Next Step After Testing?
Once your doctor has administered a skin test, they can recommend the best course of treatment for your specific allergies. This could include allergy immunotherapy, which involves regular shots to help regulate your symptoms, or medications to regulate the side effects of your allergies and give your relief.
It may also involve allergen avoidance, a preventative measure that can only be taken once you have identified your allergens with a skin test. In general, our patients are able to successfully manage their allergies after having a skin test and receiving a diagnosis.
Am I an Ideal Candidate?
This diagnostic option is considered safe and effective for almost every patient, from infants to adults. In most cases, we can administer these tests even if you have had skin tests in the past.
A good candidate is generally healthy, does not have a history of severe allergic reactions, is free from certain skin conditions, and is not taking medications which could impact the accuracy of results. One of our doctors can help you determine your candidacy for treatment during your initial consultation.
What Should I Expect?
We begin with an initial consultation, which allows one of our doctors to meet with you and determine your candidacy for testing. This appointment will involve an in-depth review of your medical history, including your family history of allergies and any severe allergic reactions in your own experience.
Your doctor will also ask you about your current medications and any diagnosed skin conditions that may impact your test results. If you are a candidate for one of the skin tests we offer, you will be given instructions on how to prepare and can begin looking forward to your appointment.
To prepare for your appointment, we ask you to stop taking certain medications about 10 days before your testing. These include certain medications to regulate symptoms of your allergies, some antidepressants, and some asthma medications.
We also recommend that you avoid using any new products or skincare treatments on your skin before your testing as this may cause skin irritation in the target area. Finally, you should wear sunscreen when outdoors and avoid sunburn, which could make your testing process more uncomfortable due to the skin irritation which occurs.
On the day of your appointment, your doctor will examine your skin for any irritation or infection which may interact negatively with testing. They will clean your skin and administer the recommended test for your specific allergies. While each test is painless, you may notice slight itching or irritation as substances to which you are allergic begin to cause a reaction.
Your doctor will observe the results of testing approximately 15 minutes later, unless you will be wearing a patch test for 48 hours. Once the results have been recorded, your doctor will cleanse your skin with alcohol. This will stop the reactions and clear the allergens from your skin. You will be able to return to your normal daily activities immediately with no downtime required.
For the first 24-48 hours, your tested skin may be more irritated or redder than usual. This is a natural reaction to the skin test and should fade over the first 1-2 days after your appointment. If you notice increased irritation or redness in new areas, you should inform your doctor as this may be a delayed reaction to one of the substances.
You should avoid exposing your healing skin to the sun as much as possible to avoid further irritation, which could slow the healing process. In general, most patients report that their skin feels completely back to normal three to four days after their testing.
Your doctor will review your test results, which will be communicated to you as soon as possible. Once you have your results, you will have a better idea of which substances should be avoided in your normal everyday life. Your doctor will also be able to recommend the best course of treatment to improve your allergy symptoms. This may include immunotherapy, medications, or a combination of the two. With the right treatment option, you could see your allergies improve and your symptoms minimized for years to come.
Contact Us for More Information!
If you have allergies, you know that they can easily take the joy out of life. Instead of being distracted by your symptoms or worried about new allergies, you could have peace of mind and a strategic treatment plan all thanks to an allergy skin test.
Let one of our accurate skin tests open the door to long-term, reliable allergy management! To learn more about what testing can do for you, contact our team of experts at Asthma Allergy Centre in Tigard, OR, to schedule an initial consultation today! We look forward to serving you!