Allergy Testing

An allergy test may be performed on your back or forearm.The nurse will prepare the test area by wiping it clean with alcohol. Next, the nurse will make a series of small marks on your arm with a pen to indicate where the test will be applied.

The nurse will place a tiny drop of allergen by each mark. Allergens some allergens they might include are common trees such as elm, maple, walnut and oak — plus cat, dog and dust. Once all the drops are in place, the nurse takes a tiny, pointed, plastic instrument called a lancet and scratches the skin through each droplet of extract.

It takes about 15 minutes for the reactions to develop fully. At that time, the nurse will return to measure the reaction, which appears as small circles of inflammation called wheals. The wheals can itch (a lot), and they look like mosquito bites.

The redness, bumps and symptoms usually subside within a day. It is unlikely you will need another allergy test if the treatment program brings your allergies under control. You also ask the nurse for some cream to help the itching.