Thursday, April 20, 2017

What Is Skin Patch Allergy Testing ?

Skin Patch Allergy Testing 

I had skin patch testing done for my unexplained skin condition. It does not hurt but is a little inconvenient and the reactions I found to be a bit itchy. However it was certainly worth it to find out why my skin was reacting so badly. I wish I had it done much earlier.

Skin Patch Allergy Testing Procedure

The procedure I went through took one week. I had to first go to the clinic on a Monday morning to have the patches with known allergens onto my back.

It felt like a series of very large sticking plasters. After that I was not permitted to get the area wet or damp so I can only have very shallow baths and not very warm either so as to avoid steam getting the patches damp. 

Due to all the markings the nurses make it is wise to wear a T shirt or shirt you don't care about as the marks may stain clothing. I wore a couple of old T shirts day and night. It is actually easier to wear clothing that unbuttons down the front as less hassle to get on and off. 

On the Wednesday I went back to have the patches removed and a first reading taken. Still had to keep area dry. 

On Friday I had to go back again for a final reading and to see the Dr for a final diagnosis and discussion. For me there were three very good reactions which clearly stated what I was allergic to. I was then given sheets with an explanation of the allergens and all I had to avoid- which in my case is a lot!!  

Photo Of My Skin Patch Allergy Reactions

Here is a photo of how my back looked after having the allergens on my back for 2 days. As you can see there is some reaction shown in 3 areas where there is redness. It was also quite raised and very very itchy!  

 A Few Helpful Tips

  • Wear clothing that is easy for you to remove and put back on.

  • The patches go across your back and the markers can stain so wear something that you don't care about too much.

  • Wear something in bed at night as well to protect the patches from coming off. 

  • If you get a reaction it may well itch or feel sore. Do not scratch it. 

  • I was advised not to take antihistamines but to contact them if the itching got unbearable. It was very itchy for me but I did not need to ask for any medication as it is only a very small area of irritation.

The video below explains skin patch allergy testing.

 It also shows a demonstration of an actual skin patch allergy test.  Of course do discuss with your healthcare professional exactly how your skin patch testing will occur as it may vary from place to place and between countries.

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