Before you leave your doctor's office, you'll know the results of a skin prick test or an intradermal test. A patch test may take several days or more to produce results.
A positive skin test means that you may be allergic to a particular substance. Bigger wheals usually indicate a greater degree of sensitivity. A negative skin test means that you probably aren't allergic to a particular allergen.
Keep in mind, skin tests aren't always accurate. They sometimes indicate an allergy when there isn't one (false positive) or skin testing may not trigger a reaction when you're exposed to something that you are allergic to (false negative). You may react differently to the same test performed on different occasions. Or, you may react positively to a substance during a test but not react to it in everyday life.
Your allergy treatment plan may include medications, immunotherapy, changes to your work or home environment or dietary changes. Ask your doctor to explain anything about your diagnosis or treatment that you don't understand. With test results that identify your allergens and a treatment plan to help you take control, you'll be able to reduce or eliminate allergy signs and symptoms.
Apr. 01, 2011
- Tips to remember: What is allergy testing? American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/patients/publicedmat/tips/whatisallergytesting.stm. Accessed Jan. 20, 2011.
- Allergy testing. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://www.acaai.org/public/background/testing.htm. Accessed Jan. 20, 2011.
- Nolte HN, et al. Overview of skin testing for allergic disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 20, 2011.
- Li JT (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 25, 2011.