A Skin Prick Test In Children And How Its Works

During allergy skin testing, allergens that are thought to cause allergies are applied to your skin followed by observation for an allergic reaction.

Tests for allergies may be able to establish, in conjunction with your medical history, whether a specific allergen you touch, breathe, or ingest is what’s triggering your symptoms.

What happens during a skin prick test?

Pricking your skin, putting a small quantity of a potential allergen inside, and watching what occurs is the gold standard for allergy testing. There will be a reddish, raised bump with a red ring around it if you are allergic to the substance. This lump might itch quite badly.

The purpose of skin prick tests:

Your doctor may use the results of allergy testing to help create a treatment plan for your allergies that includes avoiding triggers, taking medications, devising an emergency plan for anaphylaxis, or getting allergy needles (immunotherapy).

Skin tests for allergies are frequently used to diagnose allergic disorders, such as:

  • Hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
  • Allergic bronchitis
  • Dermatitis (eczema) 
  • Food intolerances
  • Penicillin sensitivity
  • Allergy to bee venom
  • Other non-specific diseases

For the most part, skin tests are risk-free for both adults and kids of all ages, including infants. However, there are several situations where skin tests are not advised. Skin testing may not be recommended by your doctor if you:

  • Possessed a severe allergic reaction in the past: Because of your extreme sensitivity, even the minute amounts used in skin testing could result in a fatal reaction (anaphylaxis).
  • Take prescription drugs that can affect test results: These include many antidepressants, antihistamines, and a few drugs for heartburn. Instead of temporarily stopping these medications in order to get a skin test, your doctor might decide that it’s preferable for you to keep taking them.
  • Have certain skin issues: There might not be enough clear, unaffected skin on your arms and back, at the normal testing sites, if severe eczema or psoriasis covers extensive sections of skin. Test results may be unreliable due to other skin problems including dermatographism.

For those who shouldn’t or are unable to endure skin exams, blood tests may be helpful. There is no blood test for penicillin allergy.

In general, allergy skin tests are accurate in identifying allergies to dust mites, pollen, and other airborne allergens. Skin tests may be used to identify food allergies. You could require further testing or treatments, though, as food allergies can be complicated.


How to run the test:

  • We’ll wipe your skin with alcohol before we test it.
  • A number of marks will be made on your skin by the nurse/doctor. These markings will be used to record the many allergens and how your skin responds to each one.
  • Each allergen will be applied to your skin as a little drop.
  • Your skin will be briefly pinched by the nurse/doctor under each drop so that a tiny bit of the allergen can soak into the skin. Although the test rarely hurts, some people find it mildly upsetting.

All ages can undergo skin prick testing, including infants if they are at least 6 months old. It is often employed and generally safe. A skin prick test can sporadically result in a more serious allergic reaction.