Advertisement

What is a skin prick test?

A skin prick test is a simple allergy testing procedure in which a number of allergens (in droplets) are placed on the skin -- usually on the forearm, upper arm, or back. The skin is then gently pricked, which allows the allergens to get into the skin cells. If this produces an allergic response -- temporary redness, swelling and itching at the test spot -- it means you're sensitive to that allergen. And the greater the reaction, the more likely it is that you're not only sensitive to it but also allergic to it.

Reactions to skin prick allergy tests usually appear fairly quickly, within 15-20 minutes. But it's also possible to have a delayed reaction several hours later. If this happens, notify your doctor or nurse.

Take the RealAge Test!

Your allergist may perform a skin prick test to discover what you are allergic to. The allergist will have solutions of common allergens. During the test, a small drop of each allergen solution is placed on your arm. Then your skin is pricked in order to expose your system to the allergen. Your arm will swell slightly at the pinprick point if you are allergic to that allergen.

Continue Learning about Allergy Test

What is ImmunoCAP ISAC?
Paul M. Ehrlich, MDPaul M. Ehrlich, MD
ImmunoCAP (Immuno Solid-phase Allergy Chip) ISAC is the latest thing in allergy testing. Develop...
More Answers
Why is allergy testing important for people with asthma?
RealAgeRealAge
About 70 percent of people who have asthma also have allergies, which may contribute to symptoms...
More Answers
Are allergy tests accurate?
Dr. Tanya R. Altmann, MDDr. Tanya R. Altmann, MD
Allergy tests are fairly accurate and can be helpful in identifying specific triggers. In this video...
More Answers
What is allergy skin testing?
Dr. Scott H. Sicherer, MDDr. Scott H. Sicherer, MD
This is a simple test that can be done with minimal discomfort and provides an allergist with a quic...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.