Allergy skin test

Definition

noun

A test on the skin in order to identify the allergen(s) triggering the allergic reaction by injecting the allergen into the skin and then monitoring it for positive indications such as the eventual occurrence of wheal (i.e. swelling) and the flare (i.e. erythema) reactions on the skin


Supplement

The allergy skin test is an immunologic test used in the diagnosis of allergies. It is the preferred method of identifying allergens causing the allergic reactions in the allergic patient because of its convenience and safety. Previously, physicians perform the Prausnitz-Kustner test to detect allergens causing hypersensitivity. However, because of the health risk involved in the latter, the allergy skin test is now rather used.

In the allergy skin test, the allergen is introduced to the patient's skin. The skin is then monitored for positive reaction, which typically occurs within 20 minutes. When the skin shows wheal and flare (i.e. swelling and redness, respectively) this means that the allergen introduced into the skin of the patient is capable of causing hypersensitivity to the patient.1

Examples of allergy skin tests are the skin prick test (skin scratch test), the intradermic test, and the patch test.

See also:

Reference(s):
1 allergy skin test. (n.d.) Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 8th edition. (2009). Retrieved April 25 2015 from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/allergy+skin+test


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