Skin Prick Tests (SPT)

What is skin prick testing?

Skin prick testing or SPT demonstrates an allergic response to a specific allergen and can help to confirm the presence of an allergy to either a food or inhaled substance (allergen).  It is a simple, safe and quick test, showing results in just 15 to 20 minutes, and therefore enabling practitioners to provide diagnosis and management plan for a patient during their appointment.

 

What happens during SPT?

 

SPT introduces a tiny amount of allergen under the skin, eliciting a small, localised allergic response, in the form of a wheal (bump) and flare (redness) at the site of testing. These tests can be carried out on all age groups, including babies.

These tests are useful if we think a child has had an IgE-mediated reaction. Typically, a child on exposure/eating something they are allergic too, a reaction occurs within minutes and symptoms include:

 

- swelling

- itch

- nettle rash

- vomiting

- sneezing

- wheezy chest

Can be useful to find triggers in eczema

 

Can test for the following:

 

- animal hair

- house dust mite

- moulds

- pollens

- common foods including nuts/milk/egg/soya/fish

 

They are NOT useful for intolerances. There is NO test for intolerances and the treatment is to stop eating the suspected food for 4 weeks. If symptoms (classically bloatedness/tummy pain/loose stools) get better, BRING the food back to make sure problems then return to diagnose the cause.

Make an Appointment

Visit the appointments page to find out more about making  a skin prick test appointment

Alternative Allergy Testing

NICE is very clear, and recommend that in alternative testing is not a safe and accurate way to diagnose allergy. See here

 

BBC watchdog story on pitfalls of such testing

© 2019 by Dr. David Cremonesini

Parkview Hospital Mediclinic, Dubai

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