It can be upsetting to experience allergic symptoms and not know the cause. Skin testing, combined with a full medical work-up and physical examination, is critical to diagnosing allergies and taking the first step toward successful treatment. In fact, some sources believe that skin testing is more accurate than a blood test.
Dr. Baxter performs skin testing in her Dallas allergy practice using the Multi-Test, a device that can quickly and safely test a large number of airborne allergens and food allergies. Once Dr. Baxter has learned exactly what you are allergic to, she will be better equipped to help you reduce the frequency and severity of your allergy symptoms — or eliminate them altogether.
How to Prepare for Allergy Skin Testing
Before undergoing an allergy skin test, you must give Dr. Baxter a list of all the medications you take (both prescription and over-the-counter drugs). Certain medications — especially antihistamines — can interfere with your skin’s reaction to the allergy test, causing a false result. Dr. Baxter will give you explicit directions for avoiding/continuing your medications, but here is a general primer:
Medications to Avoid Prior to Your Allergy Test
The following medications should be avoided for three to seven days before your skin test:
Antihistamines: Claritin, Zyrtec, Benadryl, Allegra, Alavert, Clarinex, Xyzal, AlleRx, Aldex, Atarax
Cough and Cold Medications: Dimetapp, Tavist, Trinalin, Histussin, Actifed, Dristan, Drixoral
Sleep Aids: Nyquil, Tylenol PM, Nytol
Nasal Sprays: Patanase, Dymista, Astepro, Astelin
Other: Zantac, Pepcid, doxepin, imipramine, Remeron, meclizine, amitriptyline, Phenergan
Medications to Continue Prior to Your Allergy Test
You may take the following medications in the days leading up to your skin test:
If you have any questions about which medications to avoid/continue prior to allergy testing, please call our office at (214) 363-8653.
What Happens During Allergy Skin Testing
During the skin test, Dr. Baxter or her staff will place small amounts of specific allergens on the skin via a prick test device. It typically takes about two minutes to place all of the allergens on the skin (either the back or the upper arm).
Only very small amounts of allergens are tested on your skin, so testing is safe. Also, Dr. Baxter is available in case of any rare side effects.
If you are allergic to a certain allergen, the spot where that allergen was applied will become red and raised, similar to a hive or mosquito bite. A larger bump means that your body is more sensitive to that particular allergen. Allergic reactions generally happen within 20 minutes, so you won’t have to wait a long time to see your results. The hives will disappear within approximately 30 minutes of testing.
What to Expect After Allergy Skin Testing
Dr. Baxter will interpret the results of the skin test based on your reactions to the allergens; if you did not react to certain allergens, she can rule them out as problematic. For the allergens that you do react to, Dr. Baxter will talk to you about minimizing your exposure to these triggers — for example, cutting out certain foods from your diet, avoiding cats or cleaning out clutter that may contain dust mites.
At the end of your testing appointment, Dr. Baxter will give you photographs of your skin’s reactions so you can take the information with you.
Schedule an Allergy Skin Test
If you’d like to schedule a skin test to determine what is causing your allergy symptoms, please call the office of Dr. Baxter at (214) 363-8653.