What to expect

Environmental/Food/Drug Allergy Testing:

Allergy testing is the most common and relatively painless. Most patients report only minor irritation with the testing. A very small amount of different allergens is put on your skin by making a small indentation or “prick” on the surface of your skin.

  • Allow approximately 2 hours for your appointment
  • Do not take antihistamines 5 days prior to your appointment. (click here for list of medications)
  • Testing will go on your back and is applied with a plastic apparatus which leaves oils on your skin.
  • The oils will remain on your back for approximately 15 minutes.
  • Additional testing may be required for accurate interpretation of results.
  • Additional testing is applied intradermally
  • Intradermal testing takes an additional approximately 15 minutes.

Food/Drug Challenges:

A very small amount of food or drug allergen is taken by mouth in increasing doses over the visit under the supervision of a provider. Sometimes drugs can be done as multiple shots.

  • Challenges are done in early in the mornings or in the early afternoons.
  • Allow approximately 2 hours for your appointment.
  • Do not take antihistamines 5 days prior to your appointment. (Click here for a list of medications)
  • Small amounts of allergens are given approximately every 20-45 minutes, but each circumstance is unique.
  • If allergen is consumed without any problem, the provider will give specific instructions to be finished at home.

Patch Test:

Patch testing is a form of skin testing used to determine the cause of different types of rashes. Small chambers containing different chemicals are taped to a patient’s back for several days and patient comes back to the office to be read. Small areas of localized inflammation/itching may appear within 1 to 7 days which can confirm allergy to a variety of substances including metals, rubber compounds, fragrances, preservatives and sometimes medications. This form of testing is looking for delayed skin reactions and helps the provider determine if a person’s rash is due to contact with something in their environment.

  • Oral and topical steroids should be avoided during testing times. Oral steroids should not be taken two weeks prior to placement of the patch test.
  • Antihistamines are okay to take during patch testing.
  • Patch tests are applied on the back along with tape to secure the tests.
  • After placement, the test should be kept dry. Sponge baths can be taken and strenuous activity like exercise should be avoided due to sweating.
  • The patches are kept on for 48 hours (if applied Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday). If patches are applied on Friday, patients will return 72 hours later (on a Monday). No patch testing is done on Thursday.
  • Loose clothing should be worn during this time.
  • Patch tests can sometimes have a very delayed reaction. If this occurs, patient should return to the clinic to be examined.

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Location & Hours

Iowa Allergy, Asthma & Immunology


8:00 am-5:00 pm


8:00 am-5:00 pm


7:00 am-6:00 pm


8:00 am-5:00 pm


8:00 am-5:00 pm