How to Understand Your Allergy Skin Test Results?

Updated
Updated

This article is a transcript.

How do you interpret your allergy skin test results? When you have an allergy skin test, your doctor is going to irritate your skin or inject your skin with substances that you might be allergic to, like ragweed or dust mite. They also irritate your skin with something called saline, or salt water. What this does is it gives us a comparison.

You shouldn't have a really big reaction to salt water. So in general, the easiest way to interpret your test results is to look at what did you have a big reaction or welt to, and compare it to how big it was when you were just injected with saline.

If you have a big reaction, there's a high likelihood that you probably have an allergy to that substance, but most importantly, it's important to understand that just because you reacted to a substance, doesn't mean that you necessarily have an allergy to it. In general, you have to work with your allergist to make sure the symptoms make sense.

So for example, you might have a big reaction to cat dander, but if you don't have any symptoms when you're around a cat, I wouldn't worry about having an allergy. Does that make sense? If you have any questions, please let us know.

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