Skin testing is a simple test that involves pricking the skin for the diagnosis of environmental, food, insect venom and drug allergies. Our physicians are board-certified to interpret these results, and accurately diagnose possible allergic conditions.
If you have an allergy, this is because your immune system reacts to something you have been in contact with. Normally, your immune system acts as a defense system for the body so that it can fight any bacteria or infections. But if your immune system accidentally reacts to something that is not an infection, then it can be the cause of your allergic reaction. For example, if your immune system accidentally thinks peanuts are harmful then it defends your body from peanuts. This could cause an allergic reaction.
An allergic reaction could be something you ate, something you touched, or even something you inhaled. Skin prick tests check for quick reactions to many different substances at the same time. For example, it can test to see if someone is allergic to dust, mold, food or pollen. In Chicago, pollen counts can rise to high levels during certain times of the year. We usually perform the skin prick test on the skin of the arm or the skin near the top part of the back. This test is not painful. Testing is performed by our board certified physicians. They have completed an additional two years of medical training to become experts in the treatment of allergies.
In some people, there is a quick reaction to skin testing which tells the doctor that you may have an allergy to one of the substances that was tested. In other people, if there is no reaction then the doctor may choose to add two additional substances to the skin to see if this changes the reaction. Again, this part of the test is not painful or uncomfortable. Skin testing done by an allergist is generally safe and effective. At Chicago Allergy & Asthma, it can be done in both children and adults. Since there are many different things that can cause an allergic reaction, your doctor will help determine which test is best for you.
If you develop any red, itchy bumps then we will measure the size of these and consider whether any additional testing needs to be done. In some people, the results can be delayed and may not happen for several days. If this is the case, we carefully monitor and evaluate this reaction to determine the next steps. Once your doctor is able to determine what you are allergic to then we will develop a treatment plan to reduce or eliminate your allergies.