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Skin Allergy Testing

There are a few methods of skin allergy testing.

At the UPMC Sino-Nasal Disorders and Allergy Center, we use both skin prick and intradermal dilutional skin allergy testing. Both tests give precise readings of the degree of your allergy. They also allow the doctor to give allergy shots — if you need them — at the highest safe concentration.

What to Expect During Your Allergy Skin Test

Full skin testing will take about two hours. All skin allergy testing appointments include an in-depth environmental allergy consult and a thorough review of our immunotherapy program.

During your allergy skin test, your doctor will inject a small amount of antigen under the top layers of your skin.

The shot will make a small bump (4 mm) under the skin for the intradermal test.

If you are allergic, this bump will increase in size within 10 minutes. Your doctor will then measure the size of the bump or welt.

How to Prepare for Your Skin Allergy Testing Appointment

If you're having skin allergy testing at the UPMC Sino-Nasal Disorders and Allergy Center, below are instructions to help you prepare for your allergy skin tests:

  • You must have had an appointment with a member of University Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists within the last six months.
  • Wear a short-sleeved or sleeveless shirt. Refrain from wearing perfume.
  • You may eat prior to skin allergy testing.
  • Do not exercise before or after the test, as it may increase the chance of a reaction.

Medications

Certain medications can change the results of your allergy skin tests.

To make sure your skin allergy test results are accurate, and to decrease bruising or bleeding during skin prick or intradermal testing:

  • Do not take aspirin or aspirin-containing products for 10 days prior to skin allergy testing, unless you use aspirin for heart reasons or stroke prevention.
  • Do not take ibuprofen or ibuprofen-containing products (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin) for five days prior to skin allergy testing.
  • Avoid common over-the-counter and prescription medications containing antihistamines for four days prior to your skin allergy test. The table below provides a list of drugs containing antihistamines. 

Medications containing antihistamines

  • Actifed
  • Allegra
  • Allegra-D
  • Allerest
  • Alka-Seltzer Cold & Sinus
  • Astelin
  • Atarax
  • Benadryl
  • Chlorpheniramine
  • Chlor-Trimeton
  • Claritin
  • Claritin-D
  • Comhist
  • CoTylenol
  • Cough drops with liquid centers
  • Deconamine
  • Dimetapp
  • Drixoral
  • Dramamine
  • Excedrin PM
  • Isoclo
  • Kronofed A
  • Kronofed A, Jr.
  • Marax
  • Midol PM
  • Motrin PM
  • Motrin Sinus
  • Naldecon
  • Nolahist
  • Novahistine
  • Nolamine
  • Nyquil
  • Optimine
  • Phenergan
  • Polyhistine
  • Rondec
  • Ru Tuss
  • Semprex D
  • Sominex
  • Tavist I
  • Tavist II
  • Teldrin
  • Tylenol PM
  • Tylenol Allergy/Sinus
  • Zyrtec

You cannot have allergy skin testing or receive allergy shots if you are taking any of the following non-selective beta-blockers:

Beta-blockers that prevent testing

Non-selective beta-blockers

  • Betapace (sotalol)
  • Blocadren (timolol maleate)
  • Brevibloc (esmolol HCL)
  • Cartrol (carteolol HCL)
  • Corgard (nadolol)
  • Inderal (propranolol)
  • Levatol (penbutolol sulfate)
  • Normodyne (labetalol HCL)
  • Trandate (labetalol HCL)
  • Visken (pindolol)
  • Zebeta or Ziac (bisoprolol fumarate)

Topically applied beta-blockers

  • Betagan (levobunolol)
  • Betoptic (betaxolol)
  • Ocupress (carteolol)
  • Optipranolol (metipranolol)
  • Timoptic (timolol)

Combination diuretics with beta-blockers

  • Corzide (nadolol-bendroflumethiazide)
  • Inderide (propranolol-hydrochlorothiazide)
  • Normozide or Trandate (labetalol-hydrochlorothiazide)
  • Timolide (timolol-hydrochlorothiazide)

Selective beta-blockers that do not prevent allergy testing include:

  • Kerlone (betaxolol)
  • Lopressor (metoprolol)
  • Sectral (acebutolol)
  • Tenormin (atenolol)
  • Tenoretic (atenolol and chlorthalidone)

Contact Us

Call the UPMC Allergy Clinic at 412-692-2228 with any questions about skin allergy testing or restrictions.

To make an appointment or to refer a patient, contact one of our Sino-Nasal Disorders and Allergy Center locations.

Make an Appointment

To make an appointment or refer a patient, contact the Division of Sino-Nasal Disorders and Allergy.

Learn More About Allergies

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