About Your Child's First Visit for Allergy Care

Stop taking antihistamines four days before your first visit to see an allergy specialist at Children’s Hospital. Many people use generic so check for the actual drug name in parentheses below.

The most common antihistamines are:

  • Zyrtec (cetirizine)
  • Allegra (fexofenadine)
  • Claritin (loratadine)
  • Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
  • Atarax (hydroxyzine)
  • Periactin (cyproheptadine)

What to Bring to Your First Allergy Visit

To help your first visit be as helpful as possible, you should bring:

The first visit can last up to 2 hours.

The doctor will do:

  • A complete history and exam.
  • Lung function testing on most kids over 6 years of age with asthma or lower respiratory systems.
  • Allergy testing.

Types of Allergy Tests

Scratch testing

To test for inhalant allergens — pollens, animals, or molds — we do a skin allergy scratch test.

We use a small piece of white plastic to lightly scratch the top level of skin. It doesn't bleed or leave a lasting visible mark.

If the scratch test is positive, a hive the size of a mosquito bite forms. This may last at least an hour.

Blood tests

Drawing blood to test for allergies may be easier than a scratch test for some children.

The advantage of blood testing is speed.

The disadvantages are:

  • It takes about a week to get the results.
  • It's less comfortable than the scratch test for most people.

Testing for stinging insect and drug allergies takes more time. We often can't do this test at your first visit.

We will make a diagnosis and give you a treatment plan. We'll also take the time for patient and family education where you'll have the chance to ask questions.

Contact Us About Allergy Care

To make an appointment for allergy testing or care, call 412-692-5630Online scheduling is also available for both in-person and video visits.