Test / Diagnostic Procedure: Skin prick tests

Skin prick tests are one of the most commonly used allergy tests. They can be used to diagnose allergies to pollen, dust, animals, venom, foods, latex, drugs and vaccines.

To book offline, call our Skin Health and Allergy centre directly on: 02036532007

Enquiries: bookings.skinhealthallergy@onewelbeck.com

What is a skin prick test?

A skin prick test, sometimes called a scratch or puncture test, is a simple and effective way to test for a range of allergies including dust, pollen, dust, animal, venom, food, latex, drug and vaccine allergies.

Why is a skin prick test performed?

A skin prick test is useful in identifying your allergies so that you can avoid allergens that may cause symptoms including rashes, mouth and throat swelling, itchy eyes, sneezing, blocked nose and anaphylaxis. Skin prick tests help design an effective treatment protocol for your allergy (which can include  pollen/dust/pet desensitisation/immunotherapy).

What can a skin prick test diagnose?

A skin prick test can be used to diagnose a sensitivity to a wide range of substances that cause  allergic conditions including:

Preparing for a skin prick test

Before you have a skin prick test, your OneWelbeck consultant allergist will take a detailed medical history and ask you about any symptoms you experience and when.

It’s crucial to stop taking any antihistamine tablets (cetirizine, loratadine, fexofenadine, chlorphenamine, acrivastine etc.) for at least 48 hours before the skin prick test. This is because they interfere with the tests and give inaccurate results.

What does a skin prick test involve?

A skin prick test can be used to test for many allergens at the same time. Your consultant will choose which allergens to test for based on your medical history and symptoms. A skin prick test is usually carried out on the inner forearm. A small drop of a liquid containing  different allergens is placed on the skin and the skin under the droplet is then gently pricked with a small lancet. This may feel a little uncomfortable but is not painful. If you are allergic to any of the allergens tested, a small, itchy, red bump will appear where the droplet was placed after about 10 to 15 minutes. Your consultant will make a note of any reactions and will create a report outlining your allergies to share with you.

Recovering from a skin prick test

Skin prick testing is safe and is not painful. It can be used to diagnose allergies in children, pregnant patients and adults. A positive reaction will make your skin feel itchy at the site of testing and disappear within 30-60 minutes. An antihistamine tablet can be taken if itching is uncomfortable.

If your consultant feels that further allergy treatment may be appropriate, they will discuss this with you.

Skin prick test specialists

By having a complete and integrated team of sub-specialty experts under one roof we ensure that patients are seen by the right consultant at every appointment. Our skin health specialists cover a wide range of dermatological conditions, and our dedicated allergy specialists are recognised leaders in their field.