Allergy Scratch Testing
Allergy scratch tests are used to determine food, contact, and nasal allergies that you may have to a variety of natural substances and foods. Skin or blood tests can be done to determine which allergens you are sensitive to and aid your doctor in developing a treatment plan.
Skin testing is done in our office, and depending on how many allergens you’re being testing for, may take one or more office visits. Some medications such as antihistamines may affect the test, so it is important to discuss all of your medications with the physician prior to testing.
There are two methods of scratch testing. One way is to inject a tiny amount of allergen under the surface of your skin. The other is to place a drop of allergen on the skin and make a small prick. Our office uses the second method. It takes about 15 minutes for the skin to react. By looking at the reaction the doctor can determine whether you are allergic to a particular substance.
About Nasal Allergies
Allergens that can cause nasal or contactant allergies include house dust, molds, animals, trees, grasses and weeds (including ragweeds).
Nasal allergies, or allergic rhinitis, are incredibly common, especially for those living in Ohio. If your allergies only occur at certain times of the year (spring or fall), you have seasonal nasal allergies. In contrast, if your allergies seem to be with you all year, they are perennial nasal allergies. In either case, your doctor can help develop a plan to keep your allergies under control.
Common nasal allergy symptoms include sneezing; itchy nose, eyes, ears, and throat; clear, runny nasal discharge; stuffed-up nose; and red, watery eyes. Although less known, other symptoms include sore throats, coughing, tiredness, stomachaches, headaches and tenderness in your cheeks and forehead. Nasal allergies can be quite draining on your energy, and can cause loss of concentration and sleep.
About Food Allergies
Food allergies appear in two different ways: fixed reactions or cyclical reactions. Fixed food allergies are the type of reactions that occur when a person eats or even breathes the fumes of a small amount of a particular food. These reactions are strong and potentially dangerous. Fixed food allergy reactions are a lifelong pattern, and are unlikely to disappear. People with fixed food reactions should always avoid the allergen, without exception.
Cyclical food allergies follow a much different pattern then fixed allergies. These allergies seem to come and go, and can range from being weak to more severe, but are seldom dangerous. The reaction may not be noticed at all, or may take many hours after you eat the food. The presence of cyclical food allergies depends on how much & how often you eat a particular food. With constant exposure, acute symptoms may temporarily disappear or become chronic as your body tries to adapt to the exposure.
Our allergy lab is equipped to test 94 different possible food allergens.
Scratch Test Instructions
The following medications are to be avoided at least two days prior to testing:
- All Antihistamines
- Cough Syrups
- Sleeping Medications
- Astelin Nasal Spray
- Tylenol PM