How do you interpret allergy skin test results? It starts by understanding what an allergy skin test is and how it works.
What Is An Allergy Skin Test?
When you have an allergy skin test, there are two different ways your doctor may administer it. In most cases, the doctor places a serum containing the allergens you may react to on the skin of your back. Then they prick the skin beneath the serum. Sometimes, your allergist may inject the serum under the skin of your forearm instead of pricking the back.
If your immune system recognizes the substance as a harmful allergen, it creates a topical reaction, and a red, itchy hive develops.
Your doctor also tests with histamine and saline to compare your reactions. Everyone should respond to histamine, and saline should cause no reaction. Your doctor uses these as a baseline measurement for your immune response.
Tips To Interpret Your Allergic Reactions
When they can compare each allergen serum reaction to histamine and saline, your doctor can determine which substances may cause allergies and how strongly you react. In most cases, the larger the reaction, the stronger your allergic response.
There are situations where you may react to the serum but not have an allergy. For instance, if you react to cat dander in the test but don't experience symptoms when around cats, then you likely don’t have a cat allergy. To get the best interpretations of your skin prick allergy test, work one-on-one with an allergist to discuss your unique situation and allergy history.
How Accurate Are These Tests?
Skin prick tests tend to be accurate at identifying which specific allergens cause you to have an immune response. Although they are effective at diagnosing, these tests are time consuming and uncomfortable, especially for those who suffer from multiple allergies, as the test for each allergen may develop into an itchy hive.
What Does a False Positive Mean?
A false positive occurs in an allergy test when the patient appears to have an allergic response to a specific allergen when they actually do not. These faulty results can occur during a skin prick test if the allergy specialist places the serums too close together and one test site affects others nearby.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
Before you undergo allergy testing, here are some questions you may want to ask your doctor:
Will the test cause an allergic reaction?
Because the amount of allergens in the testing serum is so small, skin prick allergy tests normally only cause topical reactions.
Should my child undergo a skin prick test?
Depending on your child’s age and allergies, a skin prick test may not be the best option. If they’re young or suffer from multiple allergies, the test may be extremely uncomfortable for them.
Are there other options available?
Depending on your situation, your doctor may recommend an allergy blood test instead of a skin prick test. At Wyndly, we offer at-home allergy test kits that don’t require a trip to the doctor’s office. These tests require only a single finger prick and can identify over 40 of the most common environmental allergens
What if I have allergies?
If your test shows that you react to certain allergens, your doctor may recommend different allergy treatments, including sublingual immunotherapy.
Take Our Allergy Assessment
If you’re looking for an easy way to identify your or your child’s allergens, look no further than Wyndly! Our allergy doctors are available to help you every step of the way, from at-home allergy testing to personalized treatment plans. Take our two-minute assessment today to see if you’re a candidate for long-lasting allergy relief!