Health Tips from a Mother of Three

How to Prepare for Patch Test Services

Allergies are not fun. What's worse is that in order to be told that you have this substance that you are not compatible with, most people have to be put through medical testing in order to figure out which substance is bothering them. There are several ways to determine your specific allergens, one of which is called patch test services. Here, learn what a patch test is and how you can prepare for one.

Understand the Test

A patch test is usually done when specifically requested by patients since skin prick tests can be done much more quickly. Skin prick tests usually take about a half-hour in a doctor's office, while patch testing requires 48 hours and two doctor's visits. Patch testing is performed by small amounts of allergens being applied to the back in small doses, which are then covered with small patches.

The patient will then go to their home for 48 hours. During this time they will have to avoid bathing, swimming, excessive movement, and sweating, in order to protect the integrity of the test. Once the test is concluded the patient will return to their doctor's office so that their healthcare professional can read the patches and check for reactions to the specific allergens.

Protect Your Skin

Before you can undergo patch testing, you need to be sure that the skin on your back is healthy and can withstand the test. While patch testing is more comfortable than some other allergy testing methods, it is still allergy testing. Make sure that your back does not get sunburned or have any allergic reactions within a week of testing. Use sunscreen and try to avoid new fabrics, detergents, or soaps. 

Don't Contaminate the Area

Contamination can cause patch testing to be ineffective, or inconclusive. Make sure that you do not apply lotion to your skin within the 48 hours before testing since this can cause inaccurate results. Keep the area on your back where testing will be done clean and clear of any lotions, oils, or makeup products. 

Prepare to Take It Easy

Since testing can be disrupted by sweating, water, or even extreme sunlight, you should plan on taking it easy during the 48 hours of testing. Hence, it is important to prepare your home for relaxing. Do any work or chores you need to do before testing begins. This will make it a little more comfortable for you. 

Patch testing is actually one of the most preferred methods to test for allergies, due to the lack of needles. Talk to your doctor to see if they offer patch test services.