Your Child's Visit to the Allergy Clinic

Children’s Services Colchester Hospital

Children’s Ward Tel: 01206 746208 or 746209

What do I need to know?

This is your first visit to the Allergy Clinic and this leaflet has been designed to provide you with information about your appointment with us.

More Information

If your child suffers with hayfever or other allergies and usually takes antihistamines such as: 

  • Chlorphenamine (Piriton) 
  • Clarity (Loratadine) 
  • Zirtek (Cetirizine) 
  • Telfast (Fexofenadine) 
  • Neoclarityn (Desloratadine) 

it is important that you stop them three days before the appointment with us. Failure to do this may result in us being unable to carry out some of the allergy tests needed and it may also give inaccurate test results. If it is not possible for your child to stop the antihistamines please contact us for further advice.

Please remember that, in addition to those listed above, some other medicines contain antihistamines, eg, travel sickness pills and Medised.

Any allergy testing carried out is based entirely on the history that you have qiven us at the consultation. We do not carry out multiple testing on substances the child has not clearly reacted to. This often gives false results and may lead to unnecessary exclusion of certain foods.

This is a safe method of allergy testing.

There is an extremely low risk of your child having a severe allergic reaction and is the most common method of testing carried out on children. It takes approximately five minutes to perform and the results are available after 20 minutes.

This method of testing is extremely sensitive and will give us an accurate idea of the allergies your child has. Skin prick testing is painless and does not cause the skin to bleed. To distract younger children we can draw a picture on the arm and incorporate the skin-prick testing within the picture. Pictures commonly used are butterflies, flowers, cars and rockets.

If your child has an allergy to a particular fruit or vegetable it is important that you bring it with you to enable us to carry out the test. Please ensure each piece of fruit or vegetable is in a separate container to prevent cross-contamination.

The fruit or vegetable needs to be fresh and not pre-packaged, for example, a slice of melon with the skin on or a whole apple wrapped separately.

If you are not sure what single ingredient your child has reacted to but you can identify the product that caused the reaction, it would be useful to bring a list of the ingredients. Alternatively, bring the wrapper with you.

This test is carried out if we get a result on skin-prick testing which does not match the history you have given us.

We may also use this method of testing rather than skin-prick testing if your child has eczema. If it has not been possible for your child to stop antihistamines before the appointment, we may carry out the allergy test by taking a blood sample.

Blood test results are available six weeks after the sample is taken. Please contact us for results in six weeks time if you have not received them.

This method of allergy testing is not carried out in the clinic environment but in the Children’s Elective Care Unit and may take most of the day. Your child will be fully monitored throughout.

Food challenges are carried out on children who have had severe allergic reactions previously and appear to have outgrown their allergy or those that have negative skin-prick and blood test results despite the medical history giving a clear indication of allergy.

You and your child can expect to be at the appointment for up to two hours. If you would like to discuss your appointment further please do not hesitate to contact the Asthma/Allergy sister on 01206 742125 (please leave a message if the answermachine clicks in).

To find out how to give us feedback on your visit or healthcare experience, please visit and search for ‘PALS’ or ‘Your views matter’, or speak to a member of staff on the ward or department you are in.