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What is a skin patch allergy test?

Dr Noga Askenazi M.D Advanced Allergy and Asthma Associates describing what is a skin patch allergy test?
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Dr. Noga Askenazi, and Dr. Eugenia Hahn use a variety of different tests to check for allergies. These tests include the skin prick test, the intradermal test, and patch testing. With the skin prick test, the skin is pricked so the allergen is placed under the surface of the skin. This test can check for reactions to a number of allergens at once and results are seen in 15-20 minutes. Using the intradermal skin test, an allergen is injected into the skin. This allergen is generally something specific, such as penicillin. The area is observed to check for a reaction. Patch testing is done to see if a patient is allergic to substances with which he or she comes into contact. This allergic skin irritation is called contact dermatitis.

Before testing your skin, your doctor will discuss your lifestyle to determine what may be causing the contact dermatitis. Some of the subjects to be discussed may include:

  • Where the rash or irritation occurs
  • Cosmetics or toiletries you regularly use
  • Your occupation and materials with which you come into contact
  • Your hobbies

Patch testing does not make use of needles and is not painful. Some discomfort or itching may be felt at the patch site. For this type of test, an allergen is placed on a patch, which then goes on the skin, generally on the arm or back. The patch is usually worn for 48 hours during which time you should avoid getting the area wet. This means no bathing, swimming, or sweating.

When you return to the office following the 48-hour waiting period, the doctor will remove the patch and check the skin underneath it. The skin will be checked again 24 hours later or 72 hours after the initial placement. If the skin appears to be red, raised, itchy, or irritated, you have an allergy to that substance.

If you think you may have allergies, visit Dr. Noga Askenazi, and Dr. Eugenia Hahn of Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates/Food Allergy Center of Illinois. With offices located in Crystal Lake, and Elgin, we are readily available to see you and to get you on your way to allergy treatment. Call 847 888 8802 to schedule your appointment.


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