How Does Skin Allergy Testing Work?

Your immune system is your body’s first defense against bacteria and other microbes that can make you sick. If you’re allergic to something, your immune system attacks a particular substance, like pollen or peanuts, when it comes in contact with your body. 

An allergen is a substance in the environment that causes your immune system to react to what it perceives as a threat. Allergens can be in the air, in the foods you eat, or on the things you touch. Common airborne allergens are pollen, pet dander, and dust mites. Common food allergens include peanuts and seafood, and a common contact allergen (something you touch) is poison ivy.

Mild-to-moderate allergic reactions can cause rashes and irritated skin, along with watery eyes, runny nose, abdominal pain, and more. More severe allergic reactions include fever, bloating, and even anaphylactic shock, which affects your breathing and is life-threatening.

If you get red, itchy patches, hives, or other similar allergic reactions but don’t know what’s causing them, make an appointment with Allen Sapadin, MD in Hackensack, New Jersey. An expert in skin allergy testing, Dr. Sapadin and our team can help you find out what you’re allergic to so you can manage your symptoms and stay healthy. 

When to get a skin allergy test

Allergies vary from person to person. What causes allergic reactions, as well as how severe reactions are, depends on the individual. Symptoms can include:

Allergies often have symptoms that appear on your skin. Hives, or small patches of swollen skin, for example, can develop as a result of eating food or taking medication to which you’re allergic, or they can even result from a bug bite.

Eczema is one of the most common skin conditions that can cause allergic symptoms. The skin dries out and becomes red, itchy, and scaly. People with eczema may be more likely to get skin infections and develop skin allergies.

If you have any of these symptoms, getting an allergy test can help you understand what’s causing the reaction is important, and it can help you treat or even prevent reactions.

What to expect during a skin allergy test

Dr. Sapadin regularly performs scratch tests for patients who may have allergies. This simple allergy test can detect airborne, food, and contact allergens. 

Dr. Sapadin begins by adding a series of possible allergens to liquid in a vial, one substance per vial. He then pricks your skin with the mixture so the allergen comes in contact with the surface layer of your skin. Over the next 15 minutes, he observes your skin’s reaction. 

Most skin allergy tests are performed on your forearm. If redness, swelling, bumps, or itchiness develop in the test area, you’re allergic to the substance. 

Some patients need additional testing to confirm an allergy diagnosis. Another common allergy test, the intradermal test, is performed by injecting a small amount of an allergen into the dermis (the middle layer) of your skin to test for any reaction.

Before your allergy test, Dr. Sapadin may recommend that you stop taking antihistamines or other medications that could interfere with testing. After the test is complete, he will work with you to understand your results and to develop a treatment plan.

He may recommend lifestyle changes, such as avoiding fragranced soaps and lotions (common allergens for people with sensitive skin), for mild skin allergies. For more severe allergies, like eczema, he may prescribe medication to help minimize your body’s immune response and reduce your symptoms. 

You don’t have to live with itchy, uncomfortable skin and bothersome allergy symptoms. Let us help you find out what you’re allergic to so you can keep your body healthy. Call our office at 201-525-0057 or book an appointment online today.

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