Around 50 million people suffer from seasonal or nasal allergies. If you have recently started sneezing, wheezing, and caring for a runny nose during the warm weather months, then you may have started to form an allergy issue yourself. If so, it is best to understand exactly what you are allergic to. This can be difficult for you to determine alone since there are typically 30 to 49 pollen grains per cubic meter of air on a moderately high pollen count day. This means you are likely exposed to hundreds of pollen particles a day from all types of flowers, weeds, trees, and grasses. Asking your allergist for an allergy test to find out what you are allergic to can help you to understand your condition a bit better. Skin prick tests are commonly completed and there are a few things you can do to prepare for the test. Keep reading to find out.
Do Not Take Your Antihistamine
Most allergy sufferers will take an oral antihistamine. These medications stop the body from releasing a compound called histamine. Histamine causes the swelling of your nasal passages, sinuses, and lung tissues and it also forces fluid to move through the nasal passages so mucous can be secreted. While antihistamines are a great addition to your allergy control regimen, they will keep your allergist from understanding exactly what you are allergic to.
When the prick or skin test is started, the physician will place some histamine on the skin. The skin will react and you will see a red patch that starts to spread around the area where the fluid was placed. Since histamine causes swelling and redness when an allergen is present, the same type of reaction will occur when an allergen is placed on the skin. Reactions to allergens used during the skin prick test can then be compared to the histamine reaction.
If you do not take an antihistamine the day of the allergy test, then the initial histamine reaction and the reactions to the allergens placed on the skin will be normal. However, if you take the medicine, swelling and redness will be minimal. This can make it appear as though you are not allergic to any of the substances placed on your skin. Poor allergy testing results can create false negatives. New testing will likely need to be scheduled, so do not take your allergy medicine on the day of your appointment.
Skip The Body Lotions
If you typically use body lotion after you shower or when you get ready in the morning, then you should skip the beauty treatment on the morning of your allergy test appointment. Many lotions contain oily ingredients that help to form a protective coating or layer over the skin. Petroleum jelly, glycerol, jojoba oil, and coconut oil are few common oily ingredients that may be in your lotion. Since the oil forms a barrier over your skin, the allergy testing tools may have difficulty scraping your skin. Also, your lotions can mix with the allergens when they are administered and this can dilute the allergens.
The typical skin prick testing tools are called lancets. The round devices have sharp tips that break the skin as the lancet is twisted down against the epidermis. A small amount of an allergen is placed on the tip of the tool before it it used, and the allergen is able to seep into the skin afterwards. You do not want to use anything that will keep the lancet from breaking the skin or allowing the allergen to soak in, so do not use any lotions, creams, or powders before your allergy appointment.
Allergy testing with the use of prick or skin tests is fairly common. You will need to do some things to prepare for the testing. If you are unsure about what you should and should not do on the day of your appointment, make sure to speak with your allergist or a clinic such as Premier Surgical Associates.