Ask the Allergist: Does Eczema Affect Allergy Testing?

 

Information from AAFA’s Ask the Allergist is not a substitute for a consultation with a health care professional. Always talk with your own doctor before making changes to your asthma or allergy management plan.


Question: I have eczema and seasonal allergies. My doctor wants to do a skin test to see if I should get allergy shots. Can I get allergy shots if I have eczema? Does eczema affect the accuracy of allergy skin test results?

Answer: You can get allergy shots if you have atopic dermatitis (eczema). Allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots) may be helpful if your eczema is triggered by allergens. Skin testing is an appropriate test if you have an area of clear skin (typically on the back) to do the testing. Those with eczema may have sensitive skin and even react to the scratch itself. This is one of the reasons why allergists do a skin prick test with a positive and negative control. Often a scratch with saline is done to prevent telling you that you are allergic to something you are not.


Dr. Douglas Johnston is our Ask the Allergist columnist. Dr. Johnston is a board-certified allergist/immunologist with Asthma & Allergy Specialists, P.A., in Charlotte, North Carolina. He obtained his D.O. from New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his residency at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, New York. Dr. Johnston grew up with both allergies and asthma. He decided it would be exciting to help people with these conditions. His passion about food allergies also comes from having a child with a peanut allergy. 


“AAFA’s Ask the Allergist” is a free service provided by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). Our allergist will answer your questions about managing asthma or allergies and medicines and treatments. Submit your question on our website.

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