Why Skin Testing Is Important to Really Understand Your Allergies

Aug 16, 2022
Why Skin Testing Is Important to Really Understand Your Allergies
Allergies can wreak havoc on your body in a variety of ways, and you can develop them for a number of reasons. Skin testing is an important tool to knowing what you’re allergic to. Read on to find out why.

 Your body uses your immune system to keep out germs, bacteria, and other forieign substances so you can stay healthy. This network of organs, cells, and tissue prevents infections and disease, and can be boosted by vaccines and antibiotics if necessary. However, if your immune system isn’t working normally, it can cause your body to respond to a substance abnormally, creating an allergic reaction.

Allergies are incredibly common, with different types affecting millions of people (24 million people have seasonal allergies; 32 million have food allergies; and 9.2 have skin allergies). One way to determine what’s causing your allergic reactions to help relieve your symptoms is skin testing. Let’s explore how this process works by looking at what causes allergies, how skin testing works, and what can be done to relieve symptoms.

Residents of the Duluth, Georgia, area looking for allergy relief can find help with Dr. Lakshmi Reddy and the skilled technicians at the Allergy and Asthma Institute.

What causes allergies?

When your immune system responds abnormally to a normal substance, it causes your body to create antibodies to defend against it whenever it’s on your skin, in your body, or in the air. Common triggers include pollen, animal dander, dust mites, mold, insect bites or stings, or latex. Foods and medication —  such as peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, eggs, milk, and penicillin —  are also known to trigger reactions. Your chances of an allergic reaction increase if you have a family history or suffer from asthma. Children are also more prone to allergic reactions.

Allergies can cause sneezing, itching, swelling, hives, coughing, tightness of the chest, and wheezing. It can also lead to worse complications, such as anaphylaxis, asthma, or sinus infections.

How does skin testing work?

This common form of testing works by exposing your skin to a small dose of specific allergens by pricking it to see how your body reacts. If your skin responds by swelling or itching, then we can identify that substance as something you’re allergic to. The test is painless, and the reaction process only takes about 20 minutes. An intradermal test can be done if your body doesn’t respond to a trigger, but your doctor suspects it might still be the cause. This works by injecting the allergen under the skin, and takes about 15 minutes.

What are the options for allergy treatment?

Once we’ve determined the cause of your reaction, there are a few different options to alleviate symptoms:


This method can help if severe allergies aren’t being helped by other means. It consists of a series of injections of purified allergens over time (often over a few years) to reduce allergic responses.


Over-the-counter pills, nasal sprays, eyedrops, or liquid can help reduce symptoms, and in case of severe allergies, an emergency epinephrine shot (EpiPen) can be used to give immediate response.

Lifestyle changes

Identifying and avoiding allergy triggers is probably the most important step, which includes eliminating certain foods from your diet, removing allergic items from the house, or switching to products that don’t trigger these reactions.

Skin testing is an effective way of identifying allergies to make treating them easier. If you’re dealing with an allergy, but don’t know what’s causing it make an appointment with Dr. Reddy and Allergy and Asthma Institute today to get relief.