WHAT TO EXPECT FROM SKIN TESTING
Skin testing is the most accurate, economical, and quickest way to tell whether or not you have IgE-mediated inhalant allergies. For more information on food allergy testing, please see the webpage on food allergies. The skin testing technique is based on allowing a very minute amount of an extract of pollen, mold, dander, dust, food, or drug to come in contact with cells that reside just below the surface of the skin. If you are allergic (that is a specific IgE-dependent hypersensitivity) to any of the extracts, redness, itching, and a small hive will develop within 15 – 20 minutes around the skin test site. This response is caused by histamine and other factors involved in allergies. The reaction usually lasts only a short while before fading away and leaving no trace.
In order to properly interpret the results, your skin tests must be applied under the proper circumstances using the correct technique. Only then can we determine what the results mean for you. In some cases a negative result does not mean that you will not have a reaction if exposed. In other cases, a positive skin test does not mean that a noticeable allergic symptom will definitely occur. Proper technique and our interpretation of skin tests are what make us so successful at managing allergic conditions.
Skin testing is done in a single visit using a device that allows testing 10 items at once. The technique involves exposing a drop of allergen-containing extracts just below the outer layer of skin. If you are allergic to the allergen, we expect to see redness, swelling, and perhaps itching at the site within 15-20 minutes. The larger the reaction, the greater the degree of allergy. The session should last about 30″ with preparing your skin, applying the test materials, awaiting your response, photographing and recording the results, and removing the remnant extracts from your skin. We leave the pen markings in place in case you have any further reaction after you leave. Please call the office immediately so we can include that information in our interpretation.
The device (similar to the one shown to above) allows testing multiple foods, pollens, molds, etc. at one time is not threatening to most children (and needle-phobic adults). The patient can move about almost immediately after the tests are applied. Dr. Kaslow has found that a simple introduction to the device beforehand helps children with apprehension and cooperation. No more needles!
Because skin tests rely on histamine release from the cells in your skin, anti-histaminesmust be avoided so that they do not hide the skin test reactions. In addition to medications used for allergies, certain medications used for ulcers, heartburn/GERD/stomach acid reflux,and some antidepressants have anti-histamine activity. Please see the list below to find out what medications to avoid. NOT ALL medications need or should be stopped for skin testing. If you are not sure, call us in advance.
AVOID these medications for 3 full days (read the label for the ingredients!)
THE FOLLOWING MEDICATIONS CAN BE TAKEN
Bronchodilators (inhaled and oral): Accolade, Advair, albuterol, Alupent, atropine, Atrovent, Brethine, Brethaire, Bricanyl, formoterol, Maxair, Metaprel, metaproterenol, ProAir HFA, Proventil, Serevent, Singulair, Tornalate, Ventolin
Theophylline: Choledyl, SloBid, Theo-24, Theodur, Theolair, theophylline, Theox, Unidur, Uniphyl
Lung Inhalers: Advair, Aerobid, Asmanex, Azmacort, Beclovent, Dexacort, Flovent, Intal, Maxair, Pulmocort, Tilade, Vanceril
Any nasal spray: Afrin, Astelin, Beconase, Flonase, Nasacort, Nasalcrom, Nasonex, Nasarel, Rhinocort, Vancenase, Veramyst, saline, Sinus Rinse
Decongestants/Cold Formulas: Duravent, Entex LA and PSE, Guaifed, Sudafed, Nolex, D-Feda II, Deconsal II, Duratuss-G, Pima, Sinuvent, SSKI, Zephrex
Any Antimicrobial (antibacterial/antifungal/anti-parasitic): Amoxil, Augmentin, Avelox, azithromycin, Biaxin, Ceclor, Cedax, Ceftin, Cefzil, Cipro, Diflucan, doxycyline (Doryx), Duricef, Dynabac, Ery-C, E-Mycin, Erthromycin, Flagyl, Floxin, fluconazole, Levaquin, Lorabid, Metronidazole, Minocin, Nystatin, Omnicef, Suprax, Tetracycline, Tinidazole, Bactrim or Septra, Vantin, Vibratabs, Zithromax (Z-Pak)
Miscellaneous: Accutane, Fenesin, Humibid-LA, Humibid-DM, guaifenensin, Iotuss-DM, Organidin, NAC, Tussi-Organidin, Phrenilin, Esgic-Plus, Tylenol (plain or extra-strength), ibuprofen (advil, Motrin, Nuprin), prednisone, Prelone, Acular, birth control pills, Premarin, Provera, Prempro, Prometrium, DHEA, and other female hormones, all thyroid products, most vitamins, Prilosec, Viagra