About Your First Visit

Here is what will happen during your first visit to see an allergy specialist at Children’s Hospital. The first visit can last up to 2 hours.

  • A comprehensive history and examination will be done.
  • Stop taking antihistamines four days prior to testing. Generic products are frequently used so check for the actual drug name indicated in parentheses below. Some of the most common are:
    • Zyrtec (cetirizine)
    • Allegra (fexofenadine)
    • Claritin (loratadine)
    • Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
  • Lung function testing is performed on most patients over 6 years of age with asthma or lower respiratory systems.
  • Allergy testing for inhalant allergens — pollens, animals, or molds — is as close to painless as possible.
    • Scratch testing is done with a little piece of white plastic.
    • The plastic device is used to lightly scratch the top level of skin. It doesn't bleed or leave a visible mark.
    • If the scratch test is positive, a hive the size of a mosquito bite develops. This will last at least an hour.
  • Allergy testing also can be done by blood test, and this may be easier for some children.
    • The advantage of the blood test is speed
    • The disadvantages are, the results take about one week to get back. Also, for most patients a blood draw is less comfortable than the scratch test.
  • Allergy testing for stinging insect and drug allergy is more complicated and often cannot be performed at the first visit.
  • We will make a diagnosis and treatment plan at the first visit. We'll also take the time for patient and family education, and there is ample opportunity to ask questions.

What should you bring to your first visit?
In order to help your first visit be as helpful as possible, you should bring:

  • The completed New Patient Visit form (PDF)
  • Notes from other health care providers
  • Any imaging or studies that have been done at another facility