Not all patients of The Asthma & Allergy
Institute are candidates for allergy testing or allergy vaccine
injections. This overview will provide information for those who may
be considering allergy testing or allergy injections.
The first part of the allergy testing process at The Asthma & Allergy
Institute is called prick testing. We use a derma-pik to perform the
test. This is a needle-less procedure. A small plastic stick with a
pronged end is used to introduce a small amount of an antigen on the
top layer of the skin to test for sensitivity. An antigen is a substance
that is introduced into the body, which produces antibodies and an
allergic response (i.e., redness, swelling, itching).
We “prick” the inner portion of your forearm lightly with
the derma-pik after we have numbered the antigens on your skin. Once
we have pricked your arm, we ask that you hold still and do not scratch
or touch the pricked areas for 15 minutes so that the antigen will
remain on the skin.
Once the 15 minutes are up, we will wipe the antigen
off of your skin and note the reaction, if any. If your skin has reacted,
it may appear like a small mosquito bite with some possible redness
around it, or may even itch. This reaction is called a wheal. We will
measure the amount of reactivity you had and show the results to the
physician. We will discuss any recommendations with you, and together
we will decide if it will be beneficial for you to test further or
take allergy injections (immunotherapy).