3 ways to ease your child’s anxiety about allergy skin testing
Our board-certified Austin allergists and experienced staff understand that many parents and children feel anxious when they learn that we need to conduct allergy skin testing. For many parents this fear comes from their memories of being tested. Fortunately, skin testing has evolved into a much gentler process than you may remember.
Our Austin allergists offer 3 important pieces of advice for parents whose children are coming into the office for allergy skin testing.
Become an informed parent. As the parent, your child will take emotional cues from you—if you appear relaxed and comfortable, it helps them to be, too. Parents feel better about the process when they learn everything they can about skin testing by reading the materials we provide, asking questions in the office or reading reliable information provided by The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology—www.acaai.org. We ask that parents read the instructions carefully about what we need you to do before the test for the best results
Tell your child what to expect on the day of the test. You know your child’s level of anxiety about allergy skin testing. The information you provide will depend on their age. Very young children may only need to know that they are going to feel a gentle stick on their upper back or forearm. The most common type of skin testing is the IgE skin test, also known as a puncture or scratch test. During this test, a nurse applies diluted allergens to the skin and uses a very tiny lancet, or needle, to gently prick the skin’s surface, allowing the allergen to penetrate the skin’s surface. It may be best to avoid using the word needle, especially with children who are very anxious about shots. The feeling has been compared to gently touching your skin with a toothpick.
Provide activities that will distract and entertain the child while waiting. After we apply the diluted allergens during skin testing, patients usually need to sit and wait about 15 minutes before we check the sites for allergic reactions. It is helpful if you can bring along books or games that your child enjoys for this waiting period.
Rest assured that you and your child are in good hands. Our Austin allergists and staff work with children every day, and we know how to help them through the skin testing process in the gentlest way. For an appointment, contact us today.