Children's allergy patient information
Find out what to expect when you come to hospital for your child's allergy appointment.
Before your appointment
As a parent or guardian, you should attend all appointments with your child if they are under the age of 16.
Any anti-histamine medicines should be stopped for at least five days before attending the clinic to enable us to perform accurate skin tests. We ask that you take photographs of any visible symptoms such as skin rashes and bring the photos to your child's appointment, as this will help us make a diagnosis.
If food is suspected as a cause, bringing the specific foods will also help us in testing. This should include any food packaging that lists ingredients. You should also bring a sample of any other materials or products you suspect may have caused a reaction (i.e. goggles, toys, cosmetics, jewellery etc.).
Please bring all medicines and creams that have been prescribed and your child’s ‘red book’.
Check your appointment letter for anything specific you may have been asked to bring. In general it would be helpful if you could bring the following:
- your full address and telephone number(s)
- your appointment card and/or appointment letter
- your GP’s name and address
During your appointment
Children will usually see a number of professionals on the same day and will have allergy skin testing if appropriate or required. Therefore, the total time of the appointment can be two to three hours in some cases.
Please note that we are a teaching hospital, so medical students may be present for some appointments. If you do not wish to have them in the room please let the nurse or doctor know and the students will be asked to step outside.
The appointment will involve a doctor taking a detailed history of symptoms and the likely triggers. Details of similar problems affecting family members and of the home environment will also be requested.
A doctor or nurse will likely perform a test during the appointment. Tests may include:
- Allergy skin tests: Normally children will undergo allergy skin tests. If skin tests are not possible or give confusing results a blood allergy test may also be required
- Food challenges: As part of our allergy service, we perform food challenges in a safe environment with highly trained and experienced staff. A food challenge is the most accurate way to diagnose a food allergy. During the test patients are given the food to which it is suspected they are allergic in gradually increasing amounts to see how they react. Many young children grow out of allergies and we use food challenges to assess if a previously diagnosed allergy can be ruled out in older children to improve their quality of life
- Lung function tests: Children with asthma will be asked to perform lung function tests, which involve blowing as hard and as long as possible through a tube. We try to make this enjoyable for children by using computer images, such as bursting balloons or playing skittles
Other tests and investigations include:
- blood tests
- full immunodeficiency testing
- exhaled nitric oxide (eNO) measurement test for allergic asthma
- state-of-the-art polysomnography to monitor breathing patterns during sleep
After your appointment
Following tests, advice will be given on avoidance of allergy-provoking factors. In the case of food allergies this will involve our allergy specialist dietitian. If medications are required an action plan will be provided and we will provide training on how to use devices such as inhalers and adrenaline auto-injectors for severe allergic reactions.
Videos for patients
Share this video with your child to help them learn what to expect during an allergy skin test.
This video will help your child learn what they can expect during a lung function test.
Patient information leaflets
- Dietary advice for cow’s milk allergic children who tolerate baked milk
- Dietary advice for egg allergic children who tolerate baked egg
- Drug challenge - what you need to know
- Food challenge - what you need to know
- Following your inconclusive food challenge/supervised feed
- Following your successful drug challenge
- Following your successful food challenge/supervised feed
- Following your unsuccessful drug challenge
- Following your unsuccessful food challenge/supervised feed
- Soya ladder
- Supervised feed - what you need to know
- What is rhinitis?
- Wheat ladder
About this page
- Last updated
Empowering young people with severe allergies to share their stories
Dr Claudia Gore
Paediatric allergy and immunology consultant Dr Claudia Gore worked with young patients and their families to create the video series "Terrific Teens," which stars young people with severe allergies. To highlight Allergy Awareness Week, she shares…