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Allergy Skin Test: Is It Painful?

Tuesday, 08 April 2014 11:00 PM

A skin test is the most basic allergy test done for observing allergic reactions to particular allergens brought in contact with the skin. This test is done to identify the allergen based on the type of reaction shown by the skin being exposed to a range of allergens (or chemicals/irritants causing allergies) before seeking effective treatment of the specific allergy. Though this is a popular test for detecting allergic reactions, it has some potential side effects/risks, including painful conditions caused during the skin test. Let us discuss whether an allergy skin test is painful.

Types of Allergy Skin Tests and Their Procedures

There are mainly three types of allergy skin tests used to determine allergic reactions before effective treatment of any allergy can start. Skin prick test, intradermal skin test, and patch test are the three common types of skin test for identifying any possible allergy. Let us briefly review each of these procedures.
  • Skin prick test: In this skin test, the skin is pricked with a needle and allergens are inserted beneath the skin surface. In about 15 to 20 minutes, painful reactions such as swelling or redness highlight which agent is the possible cause of the patient’s allergy.
  • Intradermal skin test: In this skin test, the allergens are injected deep under the skin and reactions observed.
  • Patch testing: In this test, possible allergens are sealed against the skin for two days to study allergic reactions.
Allergy Skin Test: Is It Painful?

Usually, these test procedures are not painful or only cause minor pain in patients who have no positive allergic reactions while undergoing the test. However, people with positive allergic reactions or ones sensitive to the allergy caused by any exposed allergen often get painful symptoms like intense itching, pain, or red bumps that may clear with time.
Further, in rare cases, there are possibilities of allergens causing an asthma attack or a serious allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.

Precautions: How to Reduce Painful Symptoms or Any Risk Factors Associated With Allergy Skin Test

It is better to seek an expert and certified experienced physician trained to conduct skin testing. These experts are trained to ensure that minimal pain is caused and to know how to treat painful or complicated allergic reactions occurring during the test procedure. Apart from this, the following precautions can be taken before undergoing any allergy skin test to prevent painful symptoms.
  • Follow the proper prescribed lifestyle, diet, and other advice of your physician, which can help reduce painful symptoms and other risk factors caused by the skin test to determine allergic reactions.
  • Following the test, any prescribed medicines must be taken on time, in proper dosage, and for the prescribed time.
  • Immediately notify your caregivers in case of any serious pain, symptoms, or complications.

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An allergy test is the common procedure used for testing any allergic reactions in a person. The allergy skin test — the skin prick test, the intradermal skin test, or the patch test — exposes skin to allergens and observes allergic reactions on the skin.
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 11:00 PM
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