Allergy Skin Testing

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Allergy skin testing is the quickest and most accurate method to determine a specific allergy.   Allergy testing is done with small plastic devices that gently scratch the skin. Your skin is then exposed to potential allergens. This procedure does not hurt and is relatively quick.

After the skin is scratched and exposed, we will look for a reaction to the exposure. We’re typically looking for something that looks and feels like a mosquito bite. This will indicate a positive test, and that you ARE allergic to the substance being tested. Typically the area will clear up within one hour.

In special circumstances, testing with a small needle will be done for adults and/or those who need evaluation of a penicillin and bee sting testing.

Schedule your allergy skin test today by calling (406) 451-7017.

Environmental allergy testing (pollen, dust, mold, animals)

Do you suffer from fall and/or spring allergies? (And sometimes even in summer?) The pollen from trees, grasses and weeds can trigger seasonal symptoms of allergic rhinitis (hay fever), eye allergies or asthma. An allergy skin test will identify the specific pollen causing your allergy. This knowledge will let you start allergy medications preventively (instead of reactively!)

Those who suffer from year-round allergy symptoms may have an indoor allergy. However, this will need to be determined by an allergy skin test. Pet dander and dust are common allergens, however airborne mold during summer and fall may also be a culprit. An allergy skin test will let you know exactly what is causing your year-round allergies and allow you to take the right avoidance measures.

Food allergy testing

If an allergic reaction occurred during or after eating, allergy testing for foods may identify the trigger. The most common food allergies are:  milk, eggs, wheat, peanut, soy, nuts, fish and shellfish.

Food allergy testing is most effective in ruling out a food allergy. While a test CAN determine a food allergy, this form of allergy skin testing has a high rate of “false positive tests,” meaning that a skin test may be positive yet no symptoms occur after eating the food.

If intestinal issues are present with the suspicion of a food allergy, we might assemble a team including GI specialists to provide further testing to determine specific food allergies and intolerance.

Medication allergy testing

Drug allergies differ from drug reactions, however they still may occur. We offer allergy skin testing to determine if you are allergic to a certain medication. This not only helps patients currently suspicious of an allergy to a current medication, but it allows for preventive treatment for patients who will be prescribed medications in the future.

Penicillin allergy testing

If you experienced an allergic reaction to penicillin over 10-15 years ago, there is a possibility your allergy has resolved, especially if the reaction was mild or only a rash. However if you’ve had a recent reaction to penicillin, you may be tested for a penicillin allergy. Penicillin allergy testing occurs in two steps (at the same visit.) If skin testing is negative, this is followed by an oral challenge with an observation period.

Local anesthetic allergy testing

If you had a reaction during a dental procedure (or other procedure requiring local anesthetic), you may be allergic and skin testing can be performed. This is a three-step procedure. Please contact our office for scheduling and more information on time requirements and commitments for this test.

Vaccine allergy testing

For those children who had an allergic reaction when several vaccines were administered at the same time, it can be very helpful to identify which vaccine was the culprit. Skin testing allows us to identify which vaccine caused the reaction out of the panel. We’ll also work with communicating the results back to the physician who provided the vaccination.

Venom allergy testing

Venom allergy testing is used for patients who had a generalized reaction to a sting. We run tests on the following insect stings: honey bee, yellow jacket, wasp and hornets.

Contact our office to discuss this multiple-step testing process and time commitments needed. Once test results are back, patients may avoid the insects and devise a plan for avoiding contact (and handling an accidental sting.) We also provide allergy injections for those allergic to venom to reduce the risk of a subsequent severe allergic reaction.

A significant reaction to venom must have occurred previously in order for us for us to perform skin allergy testing.

Patch skin testing for rashes

Patch testing is used for identifying the trigger of rashes that occur after contact with a particular substance. This requires no needles or puncture tests. The test is performed via a sticky, thin paper containing 35 standardized allergens. The paper panels are stuck to your back for two days and then removed and analyzed at our office. Any rashes on the back will indicate which allergens from the panel caused the rashes. This test is very reliable and easy to use.