Latest posts by Jane Lawson (see all)
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I was drafted into an allergy scratch test after answering questions on a hot pink sheet full of questions. The answer which stuck out to everyone the most was how I’d coughed all year long. “You can’t really spend a whole year coughing,” my former doctor told me, “so I’m not even going to address that.” But I wasn’t exaggerating, and thankfully the allergist at the clinic was given the sheet and took my answers seriously. I used to be unable to go even a day without coughing or sneezing. Now? Well, I’m still working on that, but at least I can sleep through the night without waking everyone.
S, the allergist, called me, and the next thing I knew, an allergy appointment was set up. We talked about allergy-related things—how I’d never been tested, how I’d oftentimes spend the whole night coughing.
I was going to do an allergy scratch test, and I was so anxious and looking up ALL the things about it. As an autistic, I like to know what exactly to expect right down to the T.
How to prepare for your allergy scratch test
Your doctor should guide you through the basics—a review of your medications, for example, because antihistamines can mess with the allergy testing. But what about everything else?
If you know you’re definitely allergic to something (e.g. nuts), make sure you explain this to your allergist. Known life-threatening allergies are not applicable for allergy scratch tests, because there’s too much of a risk.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, and you should speak with your allergist if you’re not sure what may be appropriate for breakfast/lunch. I used my own experiences with an allergy scratch test (also known as a skin-prick test) to write this post. This post should not take the place of medical advice.
Firstly, it’s better to shower before you go to bed, because if you go to sleep without bathing, you’re just pushing your nose and body into yesterday’s and today’s potential allergens. Allergens get all up in your hair, which rests on the pillow with you. You need a good night’s sleep for the scratch test, because it’s longer than a final exam. Also, your allergist needs you awake.
Secondly, your allergist needs clean skin to work with. What good is a scratch test performed on dirty skin? Sure, there’s the medically-approved alcohol sanitation action done before any needle hits your skin, but clean skin is best. So take a shower. If you feel icky in the morning because you sweat whilst sleeping, do a quick rinse.
Eat breakfast (or lunch)
My grandmother and I expected my scratch test to be like blood work, but it’s not. Eat breakfast, especially if you tend to get shaky if you don’t eat.
The first day of my scratch test, I had Baked Lays potato chips for breakfast, because it was what S could find in the lounge.
If your appointment is closer to lunchtime, then eat lunch. Don’t eat a huge breakfast or lunch, but eat something that is on the healthier side and gets the job done.
Prepare to spend the whole day in the office
You have to wait between pricks, or scratches, which means only a particular amount of solutions may be tested in an hour. Furthermore, if you do wind up experiencing allergic reactions, drowsy will likely be one of them. Don’t plan anything major after your allergy scratch test, and if you fear you’ll need it, make sure you have someone else to drive you home.
After the first day of my test, I was exhausted. Allergies have a way of bringing you down.
Are you preparing for an allergy scratch test? If not, have you ever had an allergy scratch test?