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Venom-Testing and Desensitization

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Venom testing checks for allergy to a group of insects known as hymenoptera. Testing to honey bee, wasp, yellow jacket, yellow hornet, white hornet and fire ant is available. Testing involves both prick skin testing and intradermal testing.

Prick skin testing, also known as scratch testing, is one type of allergy test. A small disposable prick device applies the allergy extract to the skin by scratching or pricking the skin. A hive or raised bump may occur at the site of the prick test. Each test site will be measured and compared to a positive and negative control allowing for specific allergies of the patient to be identified. Prick testing may be applied to the forearms or the back depending upon the age of the patient, the number of tests ordered, and the condition of the skin. Results occur, typically between 10-20 minutes.

Intradermal skin testing is another type of allergy testing. A small intradermal injection applies the allergy extract underneath the skin. A hive or raised bump may occur at the site of the intradermal test. Each test site will be measured and compared to a positive and negative control allowing for specific allergies of the patient to be identified. Intradermal testing is typically applied to the outer arm. Results occur, typically between 10- 20 minutes, however depending on the number of items being tested this test may take several hours to complete.

Sub cutaneous injection may be required, depending on the test results. A subcutaneous injection is a method of administering medication. Subcutaneous means under the skin. In this type of injection, a short needle is used to inject a drug into the tissue layer between the skin and the muscle.

Once the testing is completed, the doctor will determine if Venom immunotherapy is necessary. Venom immunotherapy (desensitization) is available to patients with positive test results who have a history of potential life threatening reactions to bee stings.

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