Do you believe that your child could be allergic to pollen, dust, or even insect bites? If so, your doctor will likely recommend skin allergy testing, which is a brief procedure in which a doctor injects a small amount of an allergen into your child's skin to see if it causes a reaction. These injections are usually done with small, pinprick needles, applied all at once in a grid-like fashion. For young children, the idea of getting multiple shots at once can cause extreme anxiety, and they may not be cooperative once you get into the office. To make the process easier, you may want to spend some time preparing your child for the testing. Here are three tips on how to do so:
Be honest with them. You may be tempted to tell your child that the testing won't hurt. However, if you're child has already had some experience with shots and needles, they may be skeptical of that advice. Also, it's possible that there could be multiple rounds of testing. If you tell them it won't hurt, they'll immediately know that's not true after the first round of shots. That could make the other rounds more difficult.
Instead, tell them that the test might be uncomfortable, but they're important because they will fix the child's sneezing, stuffy nose, and other symptoms. And tell them that the shots are small and don't hurt as bad as big shots. Your child can then start to process that information and prepare themselves for the big day.
Go through a test run. You can simulate a pinprick test with a toothpick. Simply press the sharp end of the toothpick into their skin on their hand or back. Your child will likely see that while the prick is uncomfortable and maybe a little painful, it's not as bad as having blood drawn or getting a flu shot. That will help them set their expectation level and come in prepared for the test.
Bring something to distract them. Your child will likely be lying on his or her stomach during the test, so he or she may not even know when the shots are coming. If you can keep them distracted, they may not even notice the pinpricks. Bring a cell phone or tablet to watch videos. Or bring your child's handheld gaming device. That will also help to kill time after the pinpricks, as you'll likely have to sit and wait to see whether any allergic reactions develop.
If your child is having severe anxiety about the testing, talk to a doctor at the testing center. They can give you more advice on how to help the child relax. Click here to learn more information regarding stinging insect allergy.