Allergy Skin Testing (IgE Skin Testing)

Allergy skin testing, also known as IgE skin testing, is a relatively painless procedure used to confirm suspected allergens.

During the test, a very small amount of certain allergens is introduced to your child's skin, typically on the forearms. The skin is then gently "pricked" with a two-pronged needle to introduce the allergen into the skin.

Your child’s provider may also recommend skin testing for food allergies. This test involves introducing a small quantity of the specific food thought to be causing the food allergy onto your child’s skin.

The site of the skin testing is then observed for 10-15 minutes. Your child's care team will watch for a hive-like bump to appear. If a bump does appear, it will be measured and compared with the positive (histamine) and negative (water) control areas on your child's arm. If a hive does appear, your doctor will likely diagnose the allergen as being one of your child's allergy triggers.

There is a chance for false negatives with skin testing. If the test is negative and your child's doctor still suspects a certain allergen, she may recommend an "intradermal" test, in which a small amount of the allergen is injected into the skin. Intradermal testing is not recommended for foods.