Skin Prick Testing The Good, The Bad and the Very Ugly

Anyone who has an allergy baby knows that along with blood tests most peadatricians will also refer you to an allergy specialist for skin prick testing. For those of you who are still yet to go through this process I’d like to walk you through it as I’d never even heard of skin prick testing before our referral, and as difficult as it is for you to watch someone inflict pain on your little one the results make life in one sense a little easier for them.

The first time Harry had skin prick testing he was just over 8 months, he’s now just had his fourth appointment at two years and four months. When we furst found out abiut Harrys allergies we were reffered to an NHS appointment, but as Harry seemed to be reacting to everything we were feeding him we decided to see a specialist sooner than the four month wait we were looking at.

Dr Du Toit was lovely, he listened to our concerns and quite happily tested for anything we asked him to, along with his reccomedations for common similar allergies. We knew at this point from the blood test that Harry was allergic to peanuts, Wheat, Dairy, Egg, Soya, and Dogs. Dr Du Toit decided not to test for those again, deciding to test for grains containing gluten such as oats and lentil, tree nuts – pine almond, hazle and walnut; fish, cats, chicken as this was a concern of ours, dustmites, banana, tomatoes, and crustaceans. Once we had decided what we were testing for we were passed onto the burse who carries out the procedure.

 The nurse initially makes a grid on the arm marking out where she is going to test for the allergen she then places a drop of what you are testing for onto the skin and pricks ot with a needle.This continues on till all the allergens have been tested for. It is not plesant, Harry has cried at every appointment and in some cases we have stopped the testing as he was getting to distressed. You then have to wait ten minutes for the results to show. After ten minutes the nurse then measures any hives. 

Harrys last test where he was tested for Fish and Peas, the fish showed as 10 millimetres and the peas as 4 millimetres. You then go back to the doctor and talk through the results. Anything 4 and below you can move onto a food challenge with where Harry will have to eat a pea in hospital where he’ll be monitored over a number of hours. Anything over 4mm should be avoided. Nuts have to show as 0mm before they can be set as a food challenge in hospital. 

I hope this makes the idea of skin prick testing a bit easier for those who have to go through the test, or have to take their little ones. It’s definitely helped us avoid food he os allergic to and keep track.of how his body is dealing with his allergies