Important Things You Need To Do Before An Allergy Prick Test

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If you experience a multitude of allergy symptoms during the spring and summer months, then it is wise to meet with an allergist about your condition. The allergist can offer a wide range of treatment options, but the physician must first figure out which substances you are allergic to. This way, allergy injections can be provided if medications do not work for you. You will likely be asked to take an allergy test, and one of the most common tests is called a skin prick test. The test will be scheduled one or two weeks ahead of time, and there are several things that you should do to prepare for the procedure.

Stop Taking Allergy Medications

Skip the Antihistamines

If you take allergy medications like antihistamines to control your allergy symptoms, then you need to stop taking your medicines before your allergy test. You will not be able to take your medications for 4 to 14 days before your procedure. Make sure to tell your allergist or ear, nose, and throat doctor about all the medications you take. This way, you can be given detailed information on when to stop taking the antihistamines.

You need to stop taking antihistamines, because your allergy test gauges your body's reaction to allergens that are placed on your skin. Antihistamines stop your body from producing histamine. Histamine is the compound that is released by your body when it comes into contact with an allergen. The substance causes the contact area to swell and turn red. The telltale reaction is measured during your allergy test, and this is how your physician can tell which types of pollen your body is the most allergic to. If you take an antihistamine before your test, then the reaction is suppressed. This means that there will be minimal swelling when the allergist places a pollen on your skin that you are very allergic to.

Other Medication Considerations

Antihistamines can interfere with your allergy skin test, and so can some other medications. If you take an antidepressant, then the medication may also reduce the amount of histamine that your body produces. This is true of muscle relaxants, sleeping pills, and other medications that reduce inflammation in the body.  

Fortunately, you can continue taking antidepressants if you are prescribed an SSRI medication like Zoloft or Prozac. You can continue to take steroid nasal sprays as well, and steroids like Prednisone will not cause an issue. It may be difficult to figure out which drugs will cause a problem with your allergy test though, and this is why you need to discuss your complete medical history with your allergist.

Stay Away From Coffee

If you are scheduled for an allergy test, then your physician will inform you that the entire procedure will take 40 to 60 minutes. What your allergist may not tell you is that you need to sit completely still after the allergens are introduced to your skin. The arms are generally used as the testing site, and you need to set your arms flat on a table.  

The allergist will spend several minutes scratching the skin and then allergens are placed in different testing zones. Allergic reactions will generally show up within about 20 minutes, and this means that a timer will be set and you will need to sit completely still during the reaction period. Otherwise, you may disrupt the reaction and test results will not be accurate.

The Negative Effects of Caffeine

If you drink a great deal of coffee, tea, soda, or other caffeinated beverage before your appointment, then you will likely find it difficult to sit still. Caffeine is a stimulant that constricts the blood vessels and speeds up your metabolism. This is what makes you feel jittery when you consume caffeine.

If you do not drink coffee or consume caffeine on a regular basis, then you may need to use the bathroom soon after you sit down for your allergy test. Caffeine is not considered a diuretic if you consume it often, but if your kidneys are not used to the substance, then they will not be able to breaking it down easily. This means the fluids will pass through your body much more quickly, and you obviously will not be able to get up to use the bathroom.

Caffeinated beverages are obviously a bad choice before your allergy test, and you should probably stop drinking water and other beverages an hour or more before your appointment. This way, you will be far more relaxed and at ease without having to worry about whether or not you can use the restroom.

If you have allergy symptoms that you want to control, then make sure to meet with an allergist or ear, nose, and throat doctor from a site like An allergy test will likely be scheduled and the tips above can help you prepare for the procedure.