Exclusive to Saint James Hospital in Malta is a complete series of patch and prick allergy tests that are the only allergy tests approved by the World Allergy Organisation. These are carried out by a renowned allergologist with 24 years’ experience, having read for two Masters in Immunotherapy, Allergy and Respitory Diseases, both for children and adults.
Skin prick test
A skin prick test, also known as a scratch or puncture test, is performed to detect existing immediate allergic reactions. Different substances can be tested for at one time, including various foods, pollen, dust mites, mould and pet dander.
The test is carried out using a lancet (needle) that barely penetrates the skin’s surface, making this procedure painless. A drop of the allergen extract is placed on the skin, which is then pricked by the lancet. The skin may become uncomfortable and itchy within a few minutes or a wheal may form (red bump), but these usually dissipate within an hour. There is no bleeding.
Patch testing is usually carried out to see whether a specific substance is causing allergic skin irritation, like contact dermatitis or eczema. This type of test can detect a delayed reaction which can take many days to surface.
Allergens are applied to patches of about one centimetre in diameter, that are then stuck onto the skin – either on the back, the thigh or the arm – for 48 hours. The site on which the test will be carried out must be normal, clear skin, and reaction-suppressing medications such as steroid cream, and exposure to the sun should be avoided for three to four weeks prior to the test.
During a patch test, the skin can be exposed to dozens of different extracts that can cause irritation, such as fragrances, preservatives, hair dyes and metals. Patients are required to refrain from wetting the site or sweating too much, as this may disrupt the test.
The patches are removed by the doctor two days later and the skin is examined. Inflamed skin at the patch site may indicate an allergy but our allergologist will give a comprehensive explanation of the results.
For more information or to book your consultation call 2329 3700. A consultation with our specialist is a prerequisite before the actual test is determined and carried out. Testing is suitable for children and adults.