About Your Visit

We look forward to your visit to the Parkside Occupational and Contact Dermatitis Clinic for patch testing. Patients attend this clinic for a minimum of three visits. Your appointments are scheduled as follows:

  1. First Visit: An initial evaluation, skin exam and placement of patch tests will be done at your first visit. This testing will take approximately 3 hours to complete.
  2. Second Visit: At your second visit, the patch tests will be removed. The estimated time for this visit is 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Third Visit: At your third visit, we will do an in-depth discussion with you about your patch test results. This thorough review will take approximately 2 hours.

Please note: If you are unable to keep all three of your appointments, it is very important that you call at least 2 weeks in advance to reschedule.

Your First Visit

The first visit involves an extensive evaluation, including questions about potential exposures in your work and/or home environment. Your first visit to the patch test clinic will include an extensive history taken by one of the physicians, or by one of the Dermatology residents. At times we have one or two medical students in attendance as well. We will ask questions about your home and work environment, hobbies, and past treatments. Information from the interview will be the basis for determining whether patch tests should performed, and which items to test. Photographs are often taken for our files and may be used to teach students and physicians about contact dermatitis. Please let us know during your visit if you do not want photographs to be taken for this purpose.

Parkside Occupational Patch Test Detail Photo

Patch testing involves placing allergens on the skin of your back for 48 hours. Please read the patch test information page before your visit so you understand the care you must take during the week of testing. Through patch testing, we try to reproduce the type of rash you have had, but in a very small, limited area. Your dermatitis may flare up or worsen temporarily during the testing.

Please bring a book or something to do because sometimes it takes extra time to prepare all of the test materials.

Additional visits may be necessary for other tests if sunlight is suspected or contributing to your dermatitis.

If you have long hair, please bring a hair binder for all appointments.

For women, be aware that you will be unable to wear a bra until the patches are removed on the second visit.

What should I bring?
It is important that you bring along with you any items of clothing, cosmetics, toiletries, or medications which you even faintly suspect are causing your dermatitis or making it worse. Please also bring all over-the-counter or prescription creams or lotions which you are presently using or have used in the past, even if it has been a while. Empty tubes, bottles, and boxes are still useful so that we can look at ingredients on the labels.If you are bringing items in a rolling suitcase, make sure that all liquid container tops are secure and/or placed in a plastic bag.

Personal items to bring to your first visit
Soaps (Hand soap, body soap) Triple antibiotic ointment/cream
Hair Products (Shampoo, conditioner) Benadryl/Caladryl cream/lotion/gel
Other hair products (Hair spray, gel, hair dye) Hydrocortisone cream
Moisturizers (Hand, body) Anti-itch creams
Deodorant/Antiperspirant Eye drops (if the rash affects your face)
Sunscreens Make-ups (if the rash affects your face)
Nail products Shaving products (if the rash affects areas shaved)
Wipes/moist towlettes used on yourself or child Gloves (if the rash affects your hands)
All topical prescription products ever used on the rash Shoes (if the rash primarily affects your feet)
Over the counter treatments ever used on the rash Workplace items (if the rash affects areas exposed in your work)
Please bring all items in the original container, if possible (the label with listed ingredients is important)

Work items to bring to your first visit
If you suspect any articles that you contact at work, please bring a sample of each on your first visit. These samples should be individually labeled. Your supervisor at work should be able to supply you with Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) which describe these work-related items. Some patients have access to video cameras and make a short videotape which can show their workplace and describe the type of work they do. This can be very helpful.

Medical records to bring to your first visit
If not already requested to be mailed or faxed ahead of time, please bring along copies of medical records from prior evaluations for your skin problem.

Your second visit

Parkside Occupational Patch Test Marker Photo

During the second visit to the patch test clinic, we will remove the patches and mark your back with a combination of black or purple ink and fluorescent marker. At times, some of the ink may rub off. For this reason, please bring an old T-shirt to put on before putting on your regular clothes to avoid soiling them.

Your third visit

During the third visit, the dermatologist will look at the patch sites and record reactions. The doctor will review each positive reaction, determine clinical relevance, and discuss avoidance. We will also provide a list of personal care products which do NOT contain your allergens; this is a "safe shopping list."

What we do not test

The Parkside Occupational and Contact Dermatitis Clinic does not conduct prick testing for diagnosis of immediate-type allergies. This would include evaluations for allergies to food, insects, molds, and plants which most commonly cause immediate lip/skin swelling, runny eyes and nose, and potentially difficulty breathing. Hives (urticaria) is an immediate-type allergy and patch testing is usually not helpful. Prick testing is performed by allergists. The HCMC allergy clinic (for prick testing) can perform prick testing.

Insurance and billing questions

We apply 100-200 patch tests (procedure code 95044). Insurance companies will usually pay most of the charges, but you should check your own policy. If you have concerns about the cost of testing, but your doctor wants you to be seen in the clinic, please keep your appointment and discuss these concerns with us.

If you have questions about your visit, are unable to keep your scheduled appointments, or have problems getting here, please call 612-873-3500.