Family Center for Asthma and Allergic Diseases

Allergy Skin Testing

Skin Pricks – Testing is performed on the forearms (for older children and adults) or back (for younger children) with a small plastic device that applies a drop of the various allergens just under the outer layer of the skin, basically “scratching” the surface of the skin. This is not a shot and is well tolerated by patients of all ages (even infants). The test sites are measured after a ten minute wait.

Intradermal – In some cases, further testing is needed and the second part of allergy skin testing is done with an intradermal. This test is performed by placing a small amount of allergen under the second layer of skin (similar to a tuberculosis skin test). This test is mainly used to test for specific allergies when the skin prick test fails to reveal a highly suspected allergy.

Lung Function Testing

Spirometry is the most common of Pulmonary Function Tests used to assess how well your lungs work. This test measures how much air you inhale, how much air you exhale and how quickly you exhale. This test is used to help diagnose and monitor asthma and other conditions that affect breathing.

Immune Deficiency Evaluation

In order to address the immune system, a detailed medical history will be obtained along with a physical exam. Blood tests will be ordered and reviewed. Possible vaccines may be prescribed in order to test the immune response.

Drug Allergy Evaluation

Most times a drug allergy can be diagnosed based on your symptoms. Sometimes, though, drug allergies are harder to pin down. In these cases allergy testing may be required.

Skin test: First, a skin prick is applied to the skin. After ten minutes, if the skin prick is negative an intradermal is applies and read within ten to fifteen minutes. Skin tests only work for some types of drugs, like the antibiotic Penicillin.