How much should I tell my child about the visit?
Only you can decide how much preparation to give your child regarding what to expect. Don't ask the office to make the decision for you. Seeing any new doctor may produce anxiety so it's a good idea to forgo stories of "shots and needles." Just give the child the general idea, such as, "The doctor and nurse will ask us questions about the problems you've been having (sneezing, wheezing, etc.), examine your eyes, ears, nose, throat, chest, etc., and then decide what else needs to be done. I'll make sure everything is explained to us before they do anything.
Encourage your child to share information
Encourage your child to be an active participant in giving information
to the doctor and nurse; it's good experience for the future. The more
information your child can share, the more he or she will feel a part of
the visit. Besides, it's their body. You may be surprised to learn that
the medicine your child is taking makes him feel nervous or tired, etc.
This information is important for the doctor and nurse to know.
the exam, Dr. Maier will inform you of the best course of action. If your child
is suspected of having asthma, a Spirometry test may be ordered. This is
a test which requires your child to blow into a machine that measures
several aspects of pulmonary function and helps the doctor to determine
the current status of his/her asthma. The nurse will explain the
procedure. It does not hurt! Exhaled Nitric Oxide evaluation is often
done to assist in diagnosis and monitoring of asthma. This allows more
personalized treatment plans and minimizes unnecessary medications. This
is also a very simple breathing test.
Allergy testing will quite likely be next. The nurse will place drops
on the patient's back and then make a small prick on each drop, moving
the top layers of skin to let the antigen (what you may be allergic to)
in. If your child is allergic to that specific substance, he will
develop a wheal and flare reaction much like a mosquito bite. While the
pricks can be uncomfortable, most children complain more about the
tickling they experience. The most common remark we hear after
performing an allergy test is, "Is that all?"
Some doctors do testing on the arm. These tests are a little more
uncomfortable because they are done between the layers of skin and
involve needles, a scary thing for small children. However, the test is
done quickly and is over in a matter of minutes. Again a wheal and flare
reaction will indicate positive reactions. After the testing is
complete the doctor will meet with you again and discuss the test
results and decide if more testing is indicated. When all the testing is
complete, the doctor will meet with you to help decide on a treatment
plan for you or your child. Contrary to popular belief, allergy
injections are not recommended at first, except for children who are so
allergic that medications and environmental controls cannot be
effective. Blood testing is not the first choice for testing due to the
fact that results are generally not the most reliable. This form of
testing is also rather expensive and insurance companies hesitate to
cover the expense.
Allergy testing can be performed on young children. There is no minimum
age restriction for testing. The decision whether or not to test is
based on the severity of symptoms. The point of allergy testing is to
identify allergens so that they can be avoided in an attempt to better
control your child's or your own allergies and asthma. So go ahead and
make that appointment.