Skin Patch Testing

Patch testing

The Allergy department at our local hospital carried out a skin patch test on our daughter to verify which foods she could possibly have an allergy to.

The Allergy specialist, a nurse tested her for a variety of different foods, from wheat, milk, dairy, soya, to nuts.

We had been advised prior to the test, to make sure our daughter had not had any antihistamines for a period of 5 days. This was to ensure the accuracy of the tests conducted, as antihistamines in the system can affect the results.

Scratch allergens

The patch test involved, letters being first marked on my daughter's forearm which corresponded to the item being checked. As an example, the letters 'PN' were marked and used as an abbreviation by the nurse for peanuts.

Once all the letters associated with each food being tested, had been marked, the corresponding food, in liquid form, was then applied next to the corresponding abbreviation.

The liquid was then scratched into the skin, which I was assured felt like a very slight scratch. My daughter who was six at the time of the test, only flinched at the first scratch.

After all the items had been 'scratched' into the skin, we were advised to wait for 10 minutes to see the reactions.

However, within minutes, small bumps started to appear on my daughters forearm. Each bump confirmed that she did in fact have an allergy to that particular food being tested.

It's important to remember as the bumps come up the skin does become itchy so I had to ensure my daughter did not scratch. This was the tricky part of the whole process and I could see my daughter's face building up with a huge urge to scratch.

Fortunately, with a lot of help from me, she did not scratch for the whole ten minutes, whilst we waited for the reaction to the foods applied to take place.

After the ten minutes, the nurse checked the bumps and measured them. By counting the number of bumps per food type and observing their size, it was possible to determine the strength of the allergic reaction to a particular food type.

After the test was completed, the area was wiped down with a wet tissue, to make sure any remaining food liquids were removed. A dosage of antihistamine was also given, to reduce the effects of the reactions further.

Allergies

The tests confirmed, the presence of allergies based on our daughter's reactions to wheat, soya, nuts and eggs. There was a very slight reaction to milk but it was slight and we did feel uncomfortable cutting milk and associated dairy products out of our daughter's diet. So we were prepared to live with the slight risk of an allergic reaction.

All in all, from what we've uncovered from these skin patch tests, the overall quality of life for my daughter has improved dramatically.

Her scratching has stopped, her skin is silky smooth even on her hands, where it had hardened, due to the eczema. She now sleeps better, as there's no scratching and her irritable periods have reduced, as she's not overly tired.

Whilst there is an overall plus side, the only slight downside is we are limited on foods we can provide for her. So many things have wheat, from pizza, bread to pastas and cereals, so we have had to look at alternatives.

Restaurants can be difficult, as many have foods which our daughter is allergic to, so we are very limited to where we can go out to eat. But hey ho, this isn't too much of a problem, as we are so happy that our daughter's eczema has subsided so much from what it was like.