A visit to the children’s allergy and respiratory clinic
Much of the information we need to make a diagnosis comes from hearing about your child’s or teenager’s health. This can involve a lot of detailed questions about any reactions, problems with their skin, nose, eyes, breathing, eating and diet as well as any treatment that they have tried.
To make an accurate diagnosis, we may need to undertake some tests:Skin prick allergy tests – the nurse or doctor in clinic will put some drops of solutions containing the potential allergy triggers on your child’s arm or back and scratch them. Some children find this uncomfortable but usually they can be readily distracted. If it is “positive”, if comes up in a small bump, like a nettle rash. We interpret these results according to their size and the child’s clinical symptoms. Blood allergy tests – occasionally we need to use a blood test, results are available within a few weeks. Lung function tests – where asthma is a possibility, the nurse or doctor will ask your child to blow into a computer system to find out how well their lungs are working. Chest X-ray – occasionally we need to take a chest x-ray to exclude specific chest problems.
Where a specific allergen is causing your child’s problems, the nurse or doctor in clinic will advise how to avoid it. Sometimes they will need specific treatment for their hayfever, asthma or eczema.
Usually we can make a diagnosis and generate a management plan at your first clinic appointment. With complicated problems, one or more follow up appointments may be required to assess the effect a trial of avoidance or therapy. Allergies may improve with time and so your child may benefit from a further review in clinic.