Adult and Pediatric Allergy Testing Options
A skin prick test is usually done to identify allergies to pollen, mold, pet dander, and dust mites. The test is usually done on the forearm to identify allergies due to pollen, mold, pet dander and dust mites. Allergy skin tests aren't painful. This type of testing uses needles (lancets) that barely penetrate the skin's surface. You won't bleed or feel more than mild, momentary discomfort.
After cleaning the test site with alcohol, the nurse draws small marks on your skin and applies a drop of allergen extract next to each mark. He or she then uses a lancet to prick the extracts into the skin's surface. A new lancet is used for each allergen. If you are allergic to one of the substances tested, you'll develop a raised, red, itchy bump (welt) that may look like a mosquito bite. About 15 minutes after the skin pricks, the nurse will observe your skin for signs of allergic reactions,measure the size of any wheals, and record the results. The nurse will clean your skin with alcohol to remove the marks, and you will review the tests with Dr. Callahan.
At our clinic we have a carefully selected panel of airborne allergens that we use for allergy testing. These include a variety of pollens (tree, grass, and weed pollen) that cause seasonal allergy symptoms along with other airborne allergens including dust mites, mold, and animal dander that can contribute to year-round allergy symptoms.
At our clinic we perform a combination of percutaneous (also known as prick testing) and intradermal skin testing (a test where a small amount of an allergen is injected into the arm). These tests are performed following the Modified Quantitative Testing (MQT) protocol of the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA). For young children who will not tolerate intradermal skin testing, allergy testing can be completed with just percutaneous (prick) testing.
Blood testing, also known as RAST testing, is typically more expensive and generally is considered less sensitive than skin testing. Its use is generally limited to select cases where patients cannot have skin testing performed.