My sensitive skin diary

Top tips to prepare your allergist consultation

1. Before your appointment, gather your information

Symptom diary: Doctors say that, even compared with advanced laboratory tests, history is the key to most diagnoses. So getting your symptoms and story clear in your head will certainly help the allergist help you. It’s a good idea to fill in a “symptom diary”, ideally for at least 2 weeks before your appointment.
Up-to-date medical history: Also consider seeing your primary care doctor (GP) to get an up-to-date list of any pre-existing conditions you have, as well as your current medication: certain drugs like ibuprofen, aspirin and some blood pressure medications can be crucial factors.
Family history: Your allergist will likely ask you about allergies and related conditions such as hay fever, asthma and eczema in your family. They will also want to know if anyone has had serious reactions like anaphylaxis. Make sure you ask at least your siblings and parents about this.

2. Before your appointment, get your questions ready

Make a list of key questions you want to ask at the end of your consultation. Useful questions to ask:

  • What do my test results mean?
  • What am I allergic to?
  • How serious is my allergy?
  • How can I avoid reactions?
  • Do I need to carry an epipen?
  • Am I a candidate for desensitization therapies?
  • Are there personal care products with hidden allergens I should avoid?
  • How can I minimize my allergic skin reactions?
  • What follow-up do I need to have with you (the allergist)?

3. On the day of your appointment, be prepared!

Remember to wear loose clothes that are easy to slip on and off as the doctor may want to do patch tests on your back and pinprick tests on your arm. You may also need to have blood taken. Finally, don’t take symptom control medications such as anti-histamines before the appointment as they can interfere with the test results… And don’t forget to bring along your symptom diary!

Look HERE for basic information about allergies.