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Skin Prick Allergy Test

What is it?

A Skin Prick Allergy test is a test designed to assess whether you are allergic to any airborne allergens. An airborne allergen is something in the air which can cause an allergic reaction in the airway. A common example is pollen which can cause hay fever.

How to prepare for your test?

Prior to the test we ask that you withhold any antihistamine medication for 7 days before your appointment.

If you are unable to do this or have taken antihistamines within 7 days of your appointment please contact the department as we may have to reschedule your appointment.

Common antihistamine medicines include Cetirizine Hydrochloride, Loratadine and Fexofenadine, if you are unsure please contact the department for advice.

It is also important to refrain from using moisturiser on your arms on the day of the test as the skin oils may influence the results.

What is involved?

Before the test the physiologist will ask you whether you have taken any anti-allergy medication called antihistamines in the previous 7 days.

The physiologist will also ask you whether you have any pets or known allergies. During the test you will be seated, the physiologist will require either one or both forearms to be bare below the elbow. The physiologist will first write on your forearm(s) the first letter of each allergen (there are normally 11), then a small drop of each allergen will be placed onto your skin next to the corresponding letter.

Once this is done the skin will be gently pricked with a small lancet through each drop of liquid, this lets the allergen into the skin. Excess liquid will then be dabbed away from your forearm.

After this is done you will wait 15 minutes, during this time any responses you have will appear as a raised lump on the skin and may itch a little. One of the allergens is a positive control and will cause a reaction in every patient, this is normal and is used to make sure the test is working correctly.

After 15 minutes we will measure the size of any reactions and relive any itching with hydrocortisone cream.

Your consultant will be sent the results of your test.