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Comparison of pain during skin-prick testing, immunizations, and phlebotomy

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Allergy skin prick testing is a medical procedure that is very useful for assessing a patient's sensitization to specific allergens. Some patients are worried about pain associated with prick skin testing.


To compare pain among different age groups, to look at pain during skin prick testing in younger children, and to compare the pain during skin prick testing to procedures including routine immunizations and phlebotomy.


A survey was provided to patients undergoing allergy skin testing, immunizations or phlebotomy at the Wilford Hall Medical Center.


There were 197 patients and 26 parents of patients aged 3‐8 years who completed surveys during allergy skin testing. The average anticipated (pre procedure) pain score was 4.3 for the patients aged 3‐8 years, 4.6 for the patients aged 9‐17 years and 3.2 for the patients older than 17 years. The average actual pain score of the patients during skin testing was 3.1 for the patients aged 3‐8 years, 2.2 for the patients aged 9‐17 years and 1.4 for the patients older than 17 years. For the parents of patients aged 3‐8 years, the average anticipated average pain score was 3.0 and the average actual pain score was 1.7.


The actual pain experienced from skin prick testing is perceived to be much less than the anticipated pain. Patients and referring physicians should not have a fear of pain from allergy skin prick testing.
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Keywords: Allergy; immunizations; pain; phlebotomy; procedures; skin prick; test

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2016

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma and by having the potential to directly impact the quality of patient care. AAP welcomes the submission of original works including peer-reviewed original research and clinical trial results. Additionally, as the official journal of the Eastern Allergy Conference (EAC), AAP will publish content from EAC poster sessions as well as review articles derived from EAC lectures.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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