Skin Testing for Allergies
Skin testing is the most reliable form of allergy testing. Because histamine-containing cells are located in high numbers just under the skin, results of skin testing have proven to be more accurate than blood testing in diagnosing allergies. Because we are looking for histamine in the skin, we ask you to stop all antihistamine-type medications for a few days prior to your visit.
Skin testing is ideal for diagnosing allergies to airborne allergens that can lead to allergic rhinitis and asthma, and can be helpful in diagnosing food allergy. Skin testing is also commonly used to diagnose insect allergy and occasionally drug allergy (see below).
The allergen extracts used to diagnose respiratory allergens include dust mite, animal dander, molds, cockroach and pollen (trees, grasses, and weeds). The battery of food extracts we use include the common (milk, egg, wheat, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish) and not-so-common causes of food-related allergic conditions. In the case of insects, we mostly use venom extracts.
Medications to Avoid Prior to Skin Testing
Medications that contain antihistamines interfere with skin testing results. Therefore, please refer to the list below. They are often used to treat cold and allergy symptoms.
In general, we ask that you try to avoid these medications for 5 days prior to your appointment. If you are very sick and can’t avoid these medications, you should keep your appointment anyway - we may be able to replace your medications with ones that don’t affect the skin testing results.
As a rule, asthma medications do not affect skin testing results (e.g. singular, inhalers) and should be continued. Also, single-ingredient decongestant preparations (e.g. Sudafed, phenylephrine, pseudoephedrine) can be taken. All Nasal sprays can be used except Azelastine, Astepro, Dymista, and Patanase If there are any questions about a certain medication, please speak to your pharmacist or our nursing staff.
PRESCRIPTION DRUGS WITH ANTIHISTAMINES
||EYE DROPS||NASAL SPRAYS|
OVER THE COUNTER ANTIHISTAMINES
- ALLEGRA (FEXOFENADINE)
- ZYRTEC (CETIRIZINE)
- CLARITIN (LORATADINE)
- BENADRYL (DIPHENHYDRAMINE)
- ALAVERT (LORATADINE)
- ACTIFED (TRIPROLIDINE)
- SUDAFED SINUS/ALLERGY
- TYLENOL PM
- TYLENOL COLD