What is a skin prick 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.

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!

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
What is allergy skin testing?
Dr. Susan G. Bershad, MDDr. Susan G. Bershad, MD
There are 2 types of allergy skin testing. The first is called the skin prick test, usually performe...
More Answers
What is a radioallergosorbent (RAST) blood test?
A RAST (radioallergosorbent) blood test looks for specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies in your...
More Answers
What does RAST mean?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
RAST stands for radioallergosorbent test. This is a blood test used to diagnose allergies. Your bloo...
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.