Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT) will be performed on the day of your test to assess your breathing just before skin testing is initiated. This is accomplished by forcefully exhaling into a machine that “measures” your lung capacity and certain characteristics of your breathing, primarily to screen for undiagnosed asthma or other lung problems. This is meant to ensure the highest level of safety as there is significant overlap between allergy and asthma (which may not have been diagnosed) and the fact that allergy testing has the potential to precipitate an asthma attack. If abnormal results are identified, your testing will be postponed and you will be referred to a pulmonologist or your primary care provider for clearance. If you are a known asthmatic and your PFT is below baseline, testing will be rescheduled until you are cleared by your pulmonologist or primary care provider. If you are acutely ill, testing will be rescheduled until you are well.
Skin Prick Testing involves pricking the skin with allergic substances (allergens) so that the allergen goes under the skin’s surface. The health care provider then closely watches the skin for swelling and redness or other signs of a reaction. Results are usually seen within 15-20 minutes. Several allergic substances can be tested at the same time.
Intradermal (IDT) Skin Testing involves injecting a small amount of allergen into the skin. The health care provider then watches for a reaction at the site. This test is used to find out if you are allergic to something specific, and results in a raised bump (wheal) and redness (flare) within a few minutes if allergic antibodies that are specific to that allergen are present in the skin.
The results of your tests are what the physician uses to determine what you are allergic to and what further treatment options might work best for you.