How accurate are skin prick tests?

Skin prick tests

How accurate are skin prick tests?

There are two types of people in the world. Those who get things checked out immediately and those who take more of a wait-and-see approach. But for your health, the wait-and-see approach might not be the best. In all that time, your symptoms might become worse or cause more serious damage. 

If you think you may have an allergy – even if it’s mild – it’s always good to find out for sure so you can take the right course of action with your treatment. Doing so is simple as there are plenty of allergy tests available. However, if you’re going to invest your time and money into a skin prick allergy test, you’ll want to be sure you see some results.

Skin prick tests

Skin prick tests are a common way of discovering whether you suffer from an allergy. During the test, the allergist places a drop of solution containing the allergen on your arm. Sometimes they put actual fresh food on the arm. 

Using a small needle, the allergist gently pricks the skin to allow the allergen to enter. It is not painful and there’s rarely any bleeding. You can test for many allergies at the same time using this method.

If you’re allergic, results usually appear within 30 minutes. Positive results usually show as a raised white bump surrounded by a small circle or itchy red skin. 


This test rarely produces a false-negative result. Negative results almost always mean you’re not allergic to the food. Sometimes, in 50 to 60% of cases, there may be a false-positive result, meaning you seem to be allergic but actually aren’t. 

This high number of false positives isn’t anything to worry about. Allergists use other tests to help verify the results. These include blood tests like ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay), food elimination diets, and oral food challenges. 

A trained allergist is skilled in using the most effective tests for you in combination with a detailed understanding of your medical history to provide you with accurate results. After doing so, they’ll be able to give you the most effective treatments to manage your annoying symptoms and find the relief you need. 

The consultants at London Allergy and Immunology Centre are experts in their field and have years of experience in accurately testing children and adults for allergies. Book an appointment today via our website.

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