Sending a baby or a young child to a skin prick test may be fearful for you or your child.
My baby girl, Marcie, had her skin prick test about 7 months old when I gave up trying to identify what triggered her eczema flares (some days I thought it’s the stage 1 food she was having and some nights I drove myself paranoid researching all sorts of allergies). Prior to the skin prick test taken at Singapore’s National University Hospital, I had some fears of the skin prick test myself; I imagined that Marcie’s skin will be pricked all over with many holes to test for all possible food she will eat in her lifetime and I also imagined the needle to be like a syringe that will inject the possible allergens into her skin.
A Quick Prick that tells a lot
It turned out that the skin prick test is about 20 minutes, starting with the medical staff cleaning Marcie’s inner forearm and applying the possible allergens (egg, dust mite, cat’s hair, dog’s hair, milk, mold) onto her arm. While one staff proceeded to prick Marcie’s skin with a needle to allow the substance to enter her skin, another staff was playing with Marcie. Marcie did not cry or even whine but I think that’s because her usual itch is far more ‘painful’ than that little prick. We had to wait 20 minutes or so before the medical staff examined the size of the wheal, i.e. reddish swelling to determine if Marcie is allergic to any of the substance.
What the Skin Prick Test Results say
All the results tested negative and as mentioned, this takes a lot of stress out – no worries over food allergy (apparently, testing for milk and egg is sufficient for food allergy; no need to prick 100 holes to test for all possible food to be consumed in a lifetime).
Don’t try pricking at home
It was a blessing that Marcie did not show any allergic reaction. However, if there is a reaction to the allergen, there will be swelling that is bigger than the dummy test and also itching. The test is not to be done at home without medical staff in case of severe reactions to the allergen. The skin area to be tested must also be free from rashes, otherwise, the reactions will not be visible. Plus, consumption of anti-histamines should be avoided otherwise the skin may not show a reaction (when there should be one).
I strongly encourage parents to bring their child for the skin prick test, otherwise, you may drive yourself paranoid guessing what causes the eczema..
6 replies on “Taking the fear out of the Skin Prick Test”
I saw your comment on skin prick test, sorry you had to send in twice as all comments are moderated, so it doesn’t appear immediately 🙂 Skin prick test can be taken at hospitals, and if it’s for your child, then a hospital that has a pediatric dept, which I think are KK, NUH, Changi, NSC apart from the private ones.
As for appointment, I think not more than 2 weeks’ wait from what I remember 🙂 Apart from Prof Hugo, there’s another pediatric dermatologist (can’t remember her name) which I’ve heard from parents’ feedback, also good. The skin prick test is pretty fast, just make sure child got clear skin and not on anti-histamine.
And join me on 23 Mar (sat) for support group at NSC? Can chat more, a nurse will be demonstrating care for kids w eczema, details out later on my blog.
Sorry, I have another question.do dr.hugo accept for walk-in patient or must make appointment ? If must make appointment, how long usually I need to wait? Thanks in advance!
Hi,may I know which private clinic have conduct skin prick test?
Hi, do u know which private clinic conduct skin prick test? Thanks!
About 6 months old for it to be accurate; see doc’s Q&A on skin prick test
How early can a baby go for skin prick test? My baby is 3 months old, he started to develop eczema a month ago. Thank you.