What to Expect: Allergy Skin Testing
Articles,  Blog

What to Expect: Allergy Skin Testing

[Narrator]The purpose of this presentation
is to give you an idea what to expect during an allergen skin test. We want to put you at ease for this test. Skin testing is an important step toward the
discovery of what you’re allergic to. [Nurse] All right Kate, so Dr. Taylor has
ordered some allergy testing for you today. Have you ever seen testing before? [Kate] No [Nurse] Okay, well let me show you
how it works. Alright, what we have here in this little
container are liquids, each one of those liquids has proteins in it from the major things that
people are allergic to, and you can kind of see on her there’s dust mites, dogs, cats
and then all the different molds, and trees, and grasses, and weeds. And what we do is, we take one of these little
plastic pieces, that’s sitting in here, and what we do is, dip it into the serum,
and you can see it’s a little prickly on the end? Okay, we dip it into the serum and then we
just scratch a little bit of the serum into your skin. so you can see, it’s not like a needle, it
doesn’t draw blood or anything like that, okay? The first two that we do are what we call
controls. This is the negative control. It shows us what a negative, or not allergic
response, looks like and that’s just like saltwater. So when I scratch that it’s not going to do
anything, but leave a little scratch mark. And the second one is our positive control. It shows us what a positive, or you are allergic
result, looks like. It has histamine in it. That’s the stuff a mosquito puts in your skin. It’s the same thing that’s released when your
body is allergic to something. so that’s what, so real irritating. It makes your eyes itch, it makes your nose
run, all that kind of thing. And on your skin, it’ll make like a little
mosquito bite, it’ll get welted, and red, and itchy. That’ll go away after I wipe it off, but it’ll
it’ll be a little itchy, for a little bit, until we’re done with the test, okay? The rest of these, if you’re not allergic
to let’s say, the ragweed, then it won’t do anything. It’ll just look like the saltwater one, but
if you are allergic to it, once that stuff gets in your skin it’ll have that allergic
reaction, it’ll make histamine and it’ll get all red and itchy like this one, okay? And it takes about 15 minutes to get our answer. So what I need to do is, I need to use your
back because I need a nice flat surface so the little drips of serum don’t drip into
each other, all right? So would you be okay with laying on your belly
on the table for about 15 minutes? The first thing I have to do is just wash
your back off with a little alcohol. Okay. So it’s just a little bit cold here for a
minute. And then, once it dries a second, I’ve got
a mark which test is which on your back here with my purple marker here. So you’re going to have some purple polka
dots on your back. All right. All right, so here we go. Are you ready? [Kate] Yep [Nurse] These are the controls here. Then we’ll start all the rest of them. All done. Now we will just set the timer, for 15 minutes,
and we’ll see what we get? Ok, Kate, it’s been about eight minutes,
so I’m going to wipe off the two controls, and then I’m going to measure how much redness
and welting there is, if that positive one. Okay? I’ve got a ruler here, so that’s not going
to scratch you or anything. Okay. And I can wash that off in just a minute, and at least that one will quit itching you quite so much. Feel good to scratch that one? [Kate]Yeah. [Nurse] Yeah. We just got about seven more minutes left
for the rest of them and then we’ll measure those and then you’ll be done. [Kate] Okay. All right girl, we are at about 15 minutes. I’m going to get a tissue and wipe this off
and we’re going to measure what’s positive there. Alright. Okay. I think the rest of them look pretty negative,
they all look like the saltwater one. So we can just scrub them off now. I’m just going to take that alcohol, again,
and wash the back off a little bit. I bet that dust mite one is pretty itchy,
huh? [Kate] yeah. [Nurse] Yeah. It’ll feel better and the itching from that,
now that I’ve scrubbed the histamine off, the itching should be better in about half
an hour. But if it’s really bugging you, we can probably
get Dr. Taylor to order a little bit of Zyrtec or Claritin or Allegra or something for you. Okay. Let me tie this for you and you can sit on
up. And we’ll give Dr. Taylor the results and
she’ll go over that with you. The purpose of allergen skin testing is to
help find out what you’re allergic to. It is important that you stop taking your
antihistamine at least one week before your skin test appointment. An area of skin on your back will be used
for testing. You will feel scratching sensations during
the test and some itching too. Positive reactions will fade and we will keep
you as comfortable as we can. If allergens are identified, work with your
health care provider to determine the best actions for you to treat and prevent allergy. Thank you for choosing the Mayo Clinic Asthma
and Allergy Department.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *