Alexandria Durrell: Irritated By Allergies


25 Important Questions to Ask Your Allergist

Safety through knowledge

25 Important Questions to Ask Your Allergist

When I began to suspect my son's reactions as an infant were somehow linked to food allergies, I started logging them. I'd track the foods I ate, and the reactions he'd have. Long before we ever met our allergist, I had a list a mile long of questions I needed answers to, and even then, I felt nervous about his diagnosis. There's so much to know about all kinds of severe allergies, and even now that we've had three-and-a-half years' worth of experience with his severe allergies, he throws us nice curveballs regularly so we don't get too comfortable. (Hello, allergy to cold.)

Sometimes the wait to see an allergist is months long, so during this time, you might as well gain as much insight into suspected severe allergies as possible, and arm yourself with questions for when you do finally visit your allergy specialist. We see a pediatric allergist for my son's severe allergies; don't be afraid to specifically request one with pediatric focus. They have a great handle on kids' needs and severe allergy management.

If you're having reactions, track them, always. Take note of what you eat, what you come in contact with, and how you feel. If your child is old enough to explain the way they feel, ask them, and keep track. Have as much information to share with the allergist during your first appointment as possible. There are a lot of important questions you'll want to ask your allergist about your child's specific severe allergies, and I've written some of them here for you. Remember that the key to safety is education, so don't hesitate to ask as many questions of your allergist as you like.

Some of the questions we asked:

  1. How is testing done?
  2. Are RAST (blood) tests helpful?
  3. How often will follow-up tests be done?
  4. Is there any hope my child will outgrow their severe allergy(ies)?
  5. What do we do when our child comes in contact with allergens?
  6. Where should we look for allergens?
  7. Can reactions change over time?
  8. Are there any natural solutions to help manage these severe allergies?
  9. How can we work to avoid allergens?
  10. What are some possible reactions?
  11. How can we recognize a reaction before it becomes serious?
  12. What does an anaphylactic reaction look like?
  13. What can we do to relieve non-life-threatening allergic reactions?
  14. Are there side effects to any medications?
  15. Do we need to carry an EpiPen?

Carrying an EpiPen Auto-Injector gives me a sense of security, buying me those invaluable minutes to get him to an emergency room. But, as even Spider-Man knows, with great power comes great responsibility and when we were prescribed the EpiPen, I had a million questions. Along with speaking to other EpiPen-packing parents and your allergist, you can find great answers on the EpiPen Facebook page.

Here are some questions to ask about your EpiPen:

  1. How do I use an EpiPen?
  2. Do I need to carry an EpiPen at all times? 
  3. How do we teach others how to use my child's EpiPen?
  4. When should we use the EpiPen?
  5. What should we do after we've used an EpiPen?
  6. How can I tell if an EpiPen has been used?
  7. Does EpiPen expire?
  8. Who should carry an EpiPen to protect my child?
  9. How should EpiPen be stored?
  10. Can we travel with EpiPen?
Severe allergies are on the rise in Canada.
We teamed up with EpiPen so you can arm yourself with information and be prepared if a life-threatening allergic reaction occurs.
You can find out more about life-threatening allergies and read stories from other parents on our A Parent’s Guide to Dealing with Kids with Severe Allergies page.