Allergy Test / Skin Prick Test - how to prepare?

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leechbabe
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01 Dec 2008, 4:04 pm

My daughters are both going for allergy tests this week, the skin prick style tests.

This is due to them both getting red faces and slight swelling when they eat fish. Annie my NT daughter also complains of an itchy mouth, Heidi my HFA daughter didn't say anything but the last time she had the slightest bit of fish was about 12 months ago and she was far less verbal then.

Last night we had hot dogs with tomato sauce and grated cheese for dinner (a new meal for us) and Heidi's face ended up with red splotches and so did her hands. Odd.

Anyways we are off for allergy testing because we have good solid reason to suspect allergies.

But I'm trying to prepare my girls for what to expect, thus social story time.

If you were being prepared for an allergy test what would you feel it was important to know?



t0
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01 Dec 2008, 5:02 pm

I went through one of those tests as an adult and I didn't find it too bad. I think most of the tests they gave me were plant related as my sinuses are my main allergy problem (I have had the red hands and feet after some fish, though).

Is the doctor someone the kids are familiar with? If not, you'll have to deal with that. The doctor basically brings out a tray of small glass bottles, and for each one, scratches your forearm and puts a drop of the liquid on it. I think I was tested for about 30 different things - I think I reacted to about 25 of them and most of my forearm was red and slightly bumpy afterwards.



DW_a_mom
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01 Dec 2008, 6:04 pm

That is difficult. What has worked in the past, when preparing your daughters for unpleasant things?

I find with my kids that I have to flat out tell them the truth, explain why we are doing it and convince them of it, remind them how brave they are, then offer a new toy for being brave.


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leechbabe
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01 Dec 2008, 6:21 pm

Thank you both.

I found this excellent site that had images of what would happen - http://allergies.about.com/od/allergies ... regallery/

And I used them along with stuff I found in google searches to put together a sort of social story - http://leechbabe.wordpress.com/files/20 ... -tests.pdf

it is very rough and yes there is a reward at the end. :)



kramer1
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02 Dec 2008, 7:09 am

[quote="DW_a_mom"]That is difficult. What has worked in the past, when preparing your daughters for unpleasant things?

I find with my kids that I have to flat out tell them the truth, explain why we are doing it and convince them of it, remind them how brave they are, then offer a new toy for being brave.[/quote

Agreed. Tell them the truth. It's gonna hurt and be very unpleasant.



leechbabe
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02 Dec 2008, 7:18 am

From all I've read it doesn't really hurt a great deal. I have vague memories of having a skin prick test done on my arm and all I remember is being itchy. But I don't remember much else about it, far too long ago.

But then I don't have sensory issues like Heidi does.

Our Speech Therapist today suggest putting more of the "this is how you will feel" emotional slant on the story. I said straight up I was giving them the facts and nothing else because I didn't want to put my emotional fear of the test onto them. I'm scared for them because I hate seeing my girls hurting and I've got a strong fear of needles (Dad is a doctor and once a year in autumn he used to sneak up during meal times and jab us with the flu shot, I can not express my loathing of that enough. Between that and living in Africa from 1yo -6yo and having jabs of all sorts on a regular basis, well needles and me not friends).

There have been cases in the past where doctors and nurses have sent me out of the room when treating my kids because I was getting stressed and making it all worse. Mind you I challenge any parent to remain totally calm and sane on no sleep in days, the possibility your 9 month old has meningitis and the doctor is going to stick a needle in her bladder to get a urine sample and then another in her spine for the lumbar puncture. Thank god for good friends who will stand in at times like that.

Thankfully hubby is going to be there, he has taken time off work to be able to help out.

But yeah long round about way of saying I'm sticking to the facts and nothing but the facts. Just hoping that the research I've been doing is correct about the pricking sensation being like pricks with a sharp pencil or fingernails. We are prepping both girls by spending time pretending to do the pricks.



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02 Dec 2008, 2:56 pm

*Ponders*

Would giving them something to squeeze if it hurts help, like a stress ball?

It hurts, they clench down on the ball. Even if it doesn't, it can be therepeautic.

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02 Dec 2008, 3:34 pm

I remember my allergy poke tests, I was 8, and I panicked when I saw the needles, I ran out of there, and hid outside, It took my an hour to coax me back in for the test, which wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
Things I am allergic too:
cats
dust
mold
hay straw
dogs
egg white
strawberry's
pineapple or foods with bromine
chocolate
tobacco and its smoke
tomatoes



leechbabe
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02 Dec 2008, 4:17 pm

I'm not sure if squeezing will tense their muscles and make it worse. Will pack their teddies to cuddle.

We are going to ask for the test to be done on their backs so the girls can't see the needles and also because I think the skin there is less sensitive than the arm.

Spudnik, did you know about the needle in advance?



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03 Dec 2008, 2:11 pm

My son was tested for allergies and he's still bitter over it. There's no way I could have prepared him for it and no way for me to anticipate his reaction to it. They did a panel test on his back. It's a bunch of needles in several rows. They pressed them into his back all at once.

I don't think it would have hurt me, but my son is extra sensitive and he completely flipped out. The nurse ran out the room and I had to hold his hands to keep him from scratching at his back. I was holding his hands and he was trying to spin free. We ended up dancing in circles for what seemed like an eternity.

Results of the test....he's allergic to everything (except for dogs). The test didn't include any food allergens.

My son still talks about how he hates that doctor, etc.... The doctor recommended allergy shots for my son, but I decided I couldn't take him back and put him through routine shots. And, now, he's a needlephobe.



t0
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03 Dec 2008, 3:28 pm

Sounds like you should get a description from the doctor as to how he/she will be performing the test. Some of the descriptions here differ from mine and if the kids take things literally, you'll want to get the story right. Like I said, in my test he scratched me with a pin and then applied the liquid. Then repeat many times. Wasn't like the other "all in one" description.

If your husband is going to be there, I'd suggest you stay out of the room. No reason for your emotional state to negatively influence the kids. If they're going to hate the experience, they're going to hate it. But atleast give them a chance of deciding that for themselves rather than feeding off your state.



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03 Dec 2008, 3:59 pm

Hmmm, I never did a skin allergy test, but when I did a food allergy test they took a blood sample for it.

My medications I basically found out I was allergic to by taking them. It only took one time of hives breaking out around my face and lips before the doctor just declared it an allergy, and I needed no further testing. So rather than having prick tests for fish, just say they're allergic to fish and don't feed it to them anymore.

With the other meal, break it down piece by piece and give them a sample. If they have a reaction, that's what they're allergic to. I'm guessing the tomato sauce.

If you really want to go through with the prick test, I recommend taking precautions as autism and vaso vagal syncope seem to go hand in hand with some.

Have the test administered while they are lying down. Have them rest a long time before getting up and walking again. Have them alert you immediately if they feel nauseous or dizzy afterwards, and if they do, have them sit or lie down until the feeling goes away.



EvilTeach
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03 Dec 2008, 4:51 pm

Have the scratches made on the back, so the needles can't be seen.

Have silly putty ready to get the hands working to transfer attention from the back to the hands.

I would expect all allergists to have their 8 needles on a common frame, so all 8 can be done at once
(2 sets of scratches and its all over)

Make sure you kid knows, that after the welts are examined, they will put some itchy cream on them
to help make the itch go away.

When they get home they can take a shower, to make their back feel better.

If it all goes to hell, they can do a less accurate test with a blood sample.

Be sure to set up a treat of some sort for not scratching. If you scratch it invalidates the test, and you get to do
it all over another day.


My evilboy is allergic to the same stuff I am, but has trouble with nasal sprays.
He gets the shots. Two in each arm weekly.

The shots are easy. they do them in the back of your arms, where there are few nerves.

they take about 40 weeks to get up to the full dose, and at least in my case, work wonders.
I haven't had hay fever in years.



leechbabe
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03 Dec 2008, 8:36 pm

Thank you everyone for the input.

We are having the allergy tests done at a hospital far away that we should not need to attend for any other reason, so the bad association will not link to somewhere we need to go for other stuff.

I'm packing our bag to go now because we have to leave in an hour. Got a bunch of fidget toys and Heidi's current obsession - jewels. Also snacks because we will be there for about 3 hours. But I'm worried about what to pack for snacks incase they have a reaction to what they are eating, but should hopefully be safe with water, apples and vegemite sandwiches.

I really appreciate all the feedback, it has made preparing the girls a great deal easier (both NT and HFA). Hopefully the whole proceedure will go more smoothly for the preparation.



leechbabe
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04 Dec 2008, 3:20 am

Wow that went really well. No tears. A little sulking from NT 5yo.

Took about 2.5hours all up and both girls were difficult towards the end. But we'd packed iPods and headsets and they both calmed once given music to listen to. Heidi fell asleep almost straight away once we got in the car to come home, sensory overload reaction I think.

The Childrens Centre at Cabrini Hospital was amazing, really really well set up and lots for the kids to play with and do - fish tank was a big hit.

Annie (NT 5yo) came up negative to everything.

So now we have the fun of challenging her with fish (not not a western style duel with frozen fish instead of pistols in our gun holsters... thank you hubby).

Start smear a drop of fish on her lips.

Wait a day.

Feed her 1/4 teaspoon of fish.

Wait a day.

Feed her 1/2 teaspoon of fish.

And so on for about 2 weeks, that is provided she does not react to the fish. Have to keep her diet fairly bland and non-reactive during that time also.

Heidi OTOH massive reaction to hazelnuts and mid-mild reaction to all other nuts including peanuts.

We are going to do a challenge test with Heidi and peanuts but she has to be admitted to hospital for that. Not sure about the time line of that one if they push harder and only have 1/2 hour to hour breaks between challenges or if we are going in daily for two weeks.

If the only seriously sever reaction is Hazelnuts then we do not need an epipen because Heidi is unlikely to consume them in large quantities.

OTOH a peanut allergy is hard to deal with because you encounter peanuts in more foods and stuff.

Heidi also tested as mildly allergic to shellfish. So we can do the same at home fish challenge for her as for Annie but only with fish fish and not shellfish.

So good and bad.

Annie is *very* excited about being able to eat sushi again.



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04 Dec 2008, 8:47 am

My test results came back with an allergic reaction to walnuts, but I can eat cookies or brownies with walnuts in them and only end up with something like a sinus infection. I think hazelnuts might be more common though, I know it's used in Nutella and a lot of chocolate candy as "nugat" or something like that. You'll probably have to avoid anything with a cream filling.

I wouldn't worry about peanuts at all. Just because she came up positive for hazelnuts doesn't mean she'll have any reaction to peanuts. I think peanuts just get more press so more people freak out about it.