What To Expect Before, During, And After An Allergy Test

Posted on: 10 December 2020

Have you been suffering from allergy symptoms such as hives, itchy skin, and sneezing? It's a good idea to call an allergist and schedule an allergy test. By finding out what you are allergic to, you can better avoid your allergens and reduce your symptoms without relying quite so heavily on allergy meds and other remedies. Allergy testing is generally straightforward and painless, although it can cause some mild discomfort. Here's a more specific idea of what you can expect.

Before Allergy Testing

You don't typically need to fast or change your diet before an allergy test, but you should provide your doctor with a complete list of medications and supplements that you are taking. You will probably be told to discontinue taking any antihistamines, heartburn meds, and corticosteroids a week or so before the test since they can make the results harder to interpret. If you are taking certain antidepressants, your doctor may want you to adjust your dose or skip a few doses before your test, too. If you have concerns about the feasibility of this due to ongoing depression symptoms, don't be afraid to bring that to the attention of your doctor. They'll help you find a way to balance out your need for mental health treatment and your need for allergy testing.

During Allergy Testing

You can expect your appointment to take about an hour. Once your vitals have been taken, the doctor will use a marker to create a grid on your back or arm. Then, a little needle will be used to prick your skin in each square of the grid. Each needle will contain a tiny portion of a different common allergen. 

Once your skin has been pricked, you'll wait about 20 minutes, and then the doctor will come back to read the test. The squares where your skin is red, puffy, or itchy contain the substances to which you are allergic.

After Allergy Testing

Your allergist will use the results of your allergy test to guide their treatment advice. They may prescribe you a different allergy medication based on these results. (Some medications are more effective against allergies to certain substances.) They may also make specific recommendations as to how you can best avoid your specific allergens.

Allergy testing allows your doctor to give you much more targeted advice and more useful medications. Don't skip this step; schedule your allergy test sooner rather than later. Contact a resource like Dino Peds to learn more.