Skin Prick Test

The skin prick test is a common method of determining whether a person is sensitive to various allergens. It can also determine the person's degree of sensitivity to the allergens. The skin prick test is economical (usually less than HK$1,000 for various common allergens) and the results are immediate.

The concept is to introduce small amount of different allergen to the patient's skin (usually arm or back) to see which allergens cause swelling. Swelling, and the degree of swelling indicates an allergy to the substance, and gives an indication of the degree of sensitivity to the substance.

Several days before the test, the patient must not take any antihistamines (common in medicine for flu or colds), as these will bias the results.

To let the allergens reach deep down to the patient's skin usually a needle or pricking instrument is needed to slightly punch or scratch the skin, but there will not be bleeding or scarring.

Within 15 to 20 minutes, the doctor or nurse is able to determine the patient's allergies. Assessment of both the wheal (swelling and edema) and erythema (flame/redness) reactions are conducted and recorded.

In Hong Kong, not many allergy sufferers aware of such tests. If you or your family member have persistent symptoms that you doubted to be allergic reactions, consult a physician that provide skin prick test service so that you know whether these symptoms are allergic reactions and more importantly, which are the causing substances. Preventive measures can be effectively adopted thereafter.


© 2005 Allercure Limited. Information as provided herein is for educational and informational purposes, is not intended to be and does not constitute medical advice, and is not to be construed as a substitute for a physician's consultation. The user is advised to consult independent medical advice about the applicability of any opinions or recommendations as appears herein.