Testing Information

Special instructions before allergy skin testing

  • It is very important that the patient not use antihistamines for the 5 days prior to allergy testing.
  • Medications that contain antihistamines are usually used for hay fever, itching, hives and/or eczema. Many cough medicines and sleep aids contain antihistamine. Please call us or your pharmacy if you question whether a medication contains antihistamines.
  • If you feel that you cannot discontinue your antihistamine medications, please tell us when you make your appointment.
  • The only nasal sprays we found that conflict with the allergy testing are Astelin, AstePro, Azelastine and Patanase.
  • All asthma medications can be continued up to the first visit.

Details about allergy skin testing

  • The medical history may indicate that allergy skin testing is necessary. Skin tests help determine if an individual is allergic and, more importantly, what those specific allergies are.
  • There are two types of skin testing performed in our office.

Prick puncture skin testing:

The testing consists of topical prick puncture skin testing and intradermal skin testing. The first type of testing, prick puncture skin testing is done by putting the allergen liquid material on the end of the prongs of an 8 prong grid, which is then pressed on to the patient’s back. Depending on how many items need to be tested to, a patient may need multiple grids. The amount of tests that could be done is dependent on each individual patient and their needs and symptoms. After the grids have been applied, it takes approximately 15 minutes before the tests can be “read”. The nursing staff comes in and “reads” those results by measuring the sites.

Intradermal skin testing:

Depending on the information they give to the provider, a patient may need to have the secondary testing done, which is the intradermal skin testing. This is performed on the upper arm area by introducing a small amount of material under the skin using a very small needle. After it is applied, there is a wait of approximately 15 minutes, after which the nursing staff comes in and “reads” the testing.

Antibiotic or insect venom testing

  • If the patient is being evaluated due to an abnormal reaction to an antibiotic (e.g. penicillin) or an insect sting (e.g. bee), please make sure the receptionist knows this when scheduling the appointment. It is important that you come to the office with accurate details of the reaction. For possible antibiotic allergy, we need the name of the antibiotic, duration of use before the reaction, type and extent of the reaction and names of other medications being used simultaneously. For insect sting allergy, we need details about the type of insect, duration of time after sting before reaction onset, the severity of the reaction (local swelling, hives, throat closure, wheezing), and the extent and type of treatment needed.
  • The testing is similar to the standard allergy testing (see above) but usually requires a greater amount of time in the office (i.e., 2-4 hours).

Testing children

  • Although skin testing entails little discomfort, it is normal for children to be apprehensive about testing.
  • Our nurses will explain the testing to the parent and child.
  • On the day of a child’s skin testing, we will be glad to administer a sample skin test to the parent so that they may better understand the child’s experience.

Oral food challenge

Click here for the Oral Food Challenge Parent’s Guide
This is a test to determine if a person is allergic to a certain food. Sometimes it is not known for sure if a patient has a true food allergy, so an oral challenge is done. This test is often done in children and adults who have a history of having had a food allergy, but who may have outgrown it. The test involves the patient coming to the clinic, where they are given small but increasing amounts of a food over time, looking for a reaction to the food. The patient is closely observed during the challenge. If there is no reaction to the food, the person “passes” the food challenge, and he/she is considered no longer allergic to that food. If there is a reaction, the patient’s reaction is treated (if necessary), and the patient is considered to have failed the challenge, and needs to continue to avoid the food.

Other possible tests

  • Pulmonary Function test.
  • An ear test called a “tympanogram”
  • Blood tests or x-rays may be ordered, but these are not done in our clinic. You will need to go to a lab or x-ray facility covered by your insurance.