Skin prick referrals

Wait times have increased to 4 weeks in the Northland region and over 6 weeks in the Auckland region for skin prick testing.

To help reduce demand, please consider if skin prick testing is right for your patient. Skin prick testing identifies IgE antibodies. It is not helpful in non-IgE mediated conditions such as food intolerances or chronic urticaria. Community skin prick testing will also not identify drug or venom allergies. If there is a strong history of definite allergic reaction then testing may also not be necessary.

Please also consider whether you are testing the appropriate allergens. Patients with allergic rhinitis do not need food allergy screening; food allergy testing is also rarely helpful in adults with atopic dermatitis, who are often sensitized to many allergens but do not benefit from exclusion diets and require appropriate topical therapies. Testing for substances patients have not been exposed to or that they have no history of reacting to is also inappropriate.

In certain cases, serum specific IgE testing (EAST/RAST) may be preferable, for instance in pregnancy or if patients are on medication with anti-histamine activity. Further guidelines are available here.