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Patch Testing Identifies Your Allergies So Your Doctor Can Treat Them Effectively

by Stephen Silva

If you frequently have signs of an allergic reaction on your skin such as itching or a rash, then your doctor may recommend you undergo patch testing to find out what's causing your symptoms. Patch testing is a simple and effective way to find out what common substances you come in contact with will cause a reaction on your skin. Here's how patch testing is done and how it helps control your allergies.

What To Expect When You Have A Patch Test

A patch test is often done on your back, since your back provides a large space for applying the patches and the patches can be hidden while you wear them. When you take this test, a nurse or other medical professional applies a series of patches to the skin on your back and secures them in place with tape if necessary. The patches are treated with a variety of common allergens that include things like fragrances, metals, dyes, cleaning chemicals, preservatives, latex, and a number of other substances you might encounter in the outdoor environment, on your clothing, or in your home. You can be tested for dozens of substances at a time depending on what your doctor orders.

The patches are left in place for a couple of days so your skin has time to react and then the patches are removed and your skin examined for rashes. While you wear the patches, it's important to stay out of the sun and avoid getting your back wet so nothing interferes with the test results.

Why Patch Testing Is Important For Managing Allergies

The reason to consider undergoing patch testing is to identify your allergens so you can avoid them. If testing shows you're allergic to nickel for instance, you can avoid wearing jewelry that contains it and be cautious when choosing clothing and accessories with metal snaps and buckles that might have it. By avoiding allergens, you might be able to avoid the need for treatments. However, if it turns out you have allergies to many common things you encounter daily, then your doctor can study the results of the patch test to determine the best way to treat your allergies.

Patch testing is easy to undergo. It doesn't involve needles, so the test isn't painful. You may suspect you have allergies to certain things, and a patch test can confirm your suspicions. The test may also uncover things you had no idea you were allergic to, and knowing this information is an important step for putting an end to your itching and rashes.