Allergy Testing | Overview
Allergy testing helps determine if your child’s symptoms are the result of an allergy. These tests can help you better understand how allergens are affecting your child and provide insight into avoidance strategies. They include, but are not limited to, skin testing, patch testing for metals, food challenges, bee sting (venom) testing, and medication and vaccine testing.
Where is allergy testing performed?
Skin testing is performed on Fegan 6 at Boston Children’s Hospital’s Main Campus (300 Longwood Avenue, Boston) and at all Boston Children’s satellite Allergy clinics.
Special testing is only performed on Fegan 6 at Boston Children’s Hospital Main Campus. These tests include:
- food challenge test
- bee sting (venom) testing
- medication and vaccine testing
- patch testing for metals
How should I prepare for allergy testing?
Skin testing is typically done during a regular allergy visit at the provider’s discretion. You will need to arrive 10-15 minutes before your scheduled appointment.
Special testing can be ordered by your child’s provider during either an initial or subsequent visit. You will need to come back a on a separate day for these tests. The day of the test you will need to arrive 30 to 45 minutes before the time of your child’s test. This gives you enough time to park and register at the front desk on Fegan 6. If you’re late, your appointment may be cancelled.
For all allergy tests except food challenges, your child may eat and drink as usual before the test.
You may need to stop some of your child’s medications before these allergy tests. Talk with your child’s allergist if you have questions. Continue to give daily controller asthma medications (examples: Singulair, Flovent, Pulmicort) as usual before the test.
Two weeks before all allergy tests stop giving antihistamines, as these can affect test results. Antihistamines to stop giving your child include:
- Allegra (fexofenadine)
- Atarax (hydroxyzine)
- Claritin (loratadine)
- Xyzal (levocetirizine)
- Zyrtec (cetirizine)
One week before all allergy tests do not give non-prescription cold or allergy medicine, as many contain antihistamines, including:
- Benadryl (note: you can give this up to 3 days before the challenge)
If you do not know whether your child’s medicine has antihistamines in it, ask your pharmacist or call 617-355-6117 and speak with our allergy nurse. If you’re unable to stop a medication or if your child has symptoms while off a medication, call our allergy nurse.
What to bring with you to the allergy test
These visits can take up to three hours. Please bring small toys, games, tablet/phone or books for your child to use while you are waiting.
Who will administer the test?
Skin testing is administered by an allergy technician, typically during a regular visit.
All special testing is administered by an allergy nurse, except patch testing, which is administered by an allergy technician. An allergist is nearby during these tests. Please note: This is not a doctor’s visit. You will not see your child’s regular allergist.
What if my child is not feeling well the day of the test?
If your child isn’t feeling well, please let us know as soon as possible. Your child cannot be ill on the day before and the day of an allergy test.
We will need to reschedule the test if you child has:
- A fever
- Allergy or asthma symptoms
- Viral illness
- Vomiting (throwing up)
Please call 617-355-6117 to reschedule the testing.