Allergy Test (Blood Test) for 4 Year Old

Updated on March 07, 2012
T.S. asks from Langhorne, PA
15 answers

Sometime soon I need to take my 4 year old son to get a blood test to check for allergies. When we were at the doctor for his wellness checkup, I told the doctor I wanted one for him because he rubs his eyes a lot and seems to always have a runny nose. He has eczema and I was also concerned that if he had an allergy, it could be causing some breakouts. I never knew that they did blood tests for these things. Years ago when I had an allergy test, I got a series of small injections under my skin on my arm and if one of the pricks got red, it indicated an injection. Maybe that's the old fashioned way, I dunno. My concern is that he's only 4 and getting blood drawn. Now I've always had a fear of needles (until I had kids and got used to it, but I still don't like it), and I know that I get a bit stressed when I have to give blood for whatever, so I can only imaging what it's like for a child. Obviously, I need to put any of my fears aside and be strong mommy for my boy so he doesn't get scared or flip out when the needle goes in. Is there a way I can prepare him or is it easier for kids than I am imagining? It's so hard watching someone inflict any kind of pain on your child even if it's for their own good.

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answers from Chicago on

My son had the butterfly needle blood test at 2 1/2 and 5 1/2 . My husband took him the first time because I thought I would make him nervous . He didn't look and he was fine. Just try to relax and have him look at you . Good luck =0)

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answers from San Francisco on

My son had this done as well (he has many food allergies) and the needle they used to take the blood is so tiny, made just for kids and hardly hurt him at all. He was really surprised at how little it did hurt! Just make sure you ask them if they have them.

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answers from Washington DC on

My kids have had blood drawn several times. It was harder when they were younger and didn't understand. Now they do well.

Just tell him that they have to do this one prick so that they don't have to do a lot of little pricks. You can also ask your dr. to test for several things. For us it was environmental, all nuts, a few foods I had concern about.

When you go, have him drink some water about starting 30 mins before your appt. time. This will help hydrate him and bring his veins to the surface. This will make the moment easier and faster.

When its his turn, have a toy or something with you to distract him. Have him stay focused on the toy. If he wants to look at the needle, let him, but stay calm and keep him talking /distracted.

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answers from Portland on

Talk with an allergist. The skin prick is the most reliable, and it's not always reliable, for diagnosing allergies. Blood tests only give the doctor a direction in which to look.

My granddaughter was 4 when she had both the blood test and skin prick test. It was not difficult for her. Children do not automatically fear needles. They trust the adults when they're honest but upbeat about drawing blood. My granddaughter goes to a pediatric allergist who knows how to work with young children to alleviate fears.

The allergist took a history before doing any tests and suggested changes in her diet and medication before doing the testing. Don't assume that he will need to have a blood test. Make an appointment with a pediatric allergist and ask questions before you make a decision.

As far as drawing blood. He will have to have blood drawn through out his life. Don't not do a test because it scares you. As you said you have to put aside your fears for him.

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answers from Santa Barbara on

If you do the childhood allergy profile, they will test for food and environmental (based on where you live) allergies in one blood draw. I would not start with the skin prick test from an allergist. The allergists I have called on (I'm in sales for a testing laboratory) will do the skin prick test for the income not because it's more accurate than the IgE blood test. When you go to the patient service center to have his blood drawn, ask for the person who is best with children. Keep your cool, make it seem like a really cool scientific process.

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answers from Las Vegas on

I had horrible allergies to everything that grew around my house! I often protested my yardwork responsibilities by citing my medical reasons. It never worked! They just dosed me with some Dimetapp and armed me with a rake! As for allergy testing. I endured years of the "pricking". Allergy mapping used to take up every square inch of my back, only to prove what I already knew. I had allergies to almost everything that grew and ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING that dried up and died, and was capable of flying into my nose or eyes. My personal take on trying to find out exactly what I was allergic to, 35 years later? Antihistamines work very well. Allegra, Claritan, Zyrtec, namebrand or OTC? Find the one that works the best for you or your children using the prescribed dosage or as directed by your physician. FYI - I am no longer allergic to 95% of what I was when I was 6. I was probably allergic to 40% less at the age of 12 and it only improved from there. I developed a fear or tendency to avoid areas where certain allergens that I USED TO BE allergic to at age 6, but were physically no longer reactive to, well into my teens. Unless the allergies are preventing your child from a quality of life; causing him breathing difficulties or otherwise unavoidable rashes, hives or swelling - let him grow out of it. Your pediatrician can lead you to a formidable OTC allergy medication that is best for your child, that will control a great percentage of what is out there. The prick test for me, was above and beyond and really did nothing for me other than; " If I ate oranges, I was fine. If I ground the peels into my broken skin, I broke out". I have this incredible feeling that if it's not a part of my body chemistry and I shoved it into a hole in my body, my body may or may not have something to say about it.

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answers from Seattle on

I've had to take my 3- then turned four-yr-old for 3 blood draws, and it's not been a picnic. Each time I've waited until we've gotten to the hospital (I had a tech at Children's Hosp do the big one) or doc office to tell him why we're there. I've explained it like this: "The doctor needs to look at some of your blood to see if you are sick. He'll take some out with a needle, so it feels like a shot, but it will only hurt for a minute. I'll be right there with my arms around you. We'll do it together - Team Evan And Mommy!"

I know if I told him earlier, he'd be crying and frightened for the duration. This way, he's afraid for 5 minutes, then it's done.

Be sure you get someone who's confident and has drawn blood from frightened kids A LOT. One nurse that I was not familiar with at our ped's office started to do one draw, and couldn't do it - she inserted the needle into his vein and the blood wouldn't flow. She actually wiggled the needle while it was in his arm. He howled and I said to him, "I know this hurts" and she said, "I'm not even hurting him yet!" WTH? I told her to leave and send someone else. The next nurse was fantastic, got him to sing the ABC's with her and had what she needed by the end of the song. The easiest blood draw was done at Children's Hosp by an expert phlebotomist who did blood draws all day on kids. :) If you have yours done at your ped's office, ash him/her to send in the nurse with the best skills.

ETA: Remember, it takes less than one minute to complete. All in all, it hurts less than a skinned knee or elbow.

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answers from Boston on

My son just had blood drawn for an allergy test. He's 7 and it was very easy. The needle was tiny. He said it only hurt for a second. But right before it went in, I grabbed the basket of pops they had and asked which color he'd like. By the time, he thought about it and answered, the needle was out. He chose his lollipop and we were off! (: The results took about a week and we found out that he is probably allergic to cats, dogs and house dust. Great...everything my house is full of! (:

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answers from New York on

Check with your insurance first because a lot of time the blood test isn't covered unless you do the pin prick one first or the child's allergy is thought to be serious and life threatening.



answers from Los Angeles on

do a blood test first and if something comes up then talk about a scratch test. but those are tedious for a child



answers from Lexington on

There are different types of allergic reactions and different methods test different types. We only have 3 types testable that I know of - IgE, IgG, and IgA. My kids have had all 3.

The IgE is the most familiar - the skin prick test. It was informative and told us what things to stay away from, and informed the doctor what to put into our allergy shots.

The IgG is the blood test and is used mostly for foods. It shows the delayed reactions, such as when we get hives -- not immediately but perhaps the next day. It is not completely accurate but can give us a great starting point for what foods to eliminate then try adding back one at a time after about 6 months.

I had hives for 8 years, (and asthma) and this was in spite of allergy shots for 20 years. My allergist never told me about the IgG and IgA reactions (IgA is right in your intestines). He never even told me that sometimes the hives are the only noticeable sign of Celiac or gluten sensitivity -- he only gave me the IgE tests. I was on 6 medications to control allergies, hives and asthma. I also had to wear a mask outdoors during some times of the year. I got the tests and got off the foods... and now I am down to one little OTC Zyrtec pill each day.

When I asked the allergist WHY he had never told me or tested me he said it was only because insurance does not pay and the doctors at the clinic do not even mention things which are not covered by insurance. !?!?!?!?!?!?! But.... he could've sent me to a gastroenterologist to at least talk about the possibility of Celiac/gluten sensitivity!

My younger daughter had many blood draws as a young child over the years, and they were not a problem until she was very weak and passed out. The passing out seemed to be a trigger event and she became phobic of blood draws - not needles, just the blood draws and IVs. That lasted some years and was miserable, but she eventually overcame that as well. But in the meantime, we had to use benzodiazepines on her for the blood draws.



answers from Harrisburg on

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to prepare your child. My son is five and three of us had to hold him down to draw blood. I know not all children are the same, but it was awful.


answers from Tucson on

I think you should have someone else take him so that you don't push your fears on him. Aslo i used to work for an allergist and performed allergy testing all the time even on 4 yr olds. Usually if you have an idea of what he may be allergic to, the doctor will just choose a few possible allergens to test him for. Are you thinking food or environmental?
Also getting blood drawn is no big deal. I have had 2 very sick babies who have been poked over and over. One at a year old and the other was just 4 weeks old when i had to start taking him every 2 weeks to get blood drawn. I just made sure to ask for some experienced in infant or children blood draws. The parent is expected to hold the child while the blood is drawn so you need to be calm.



answers from San Diego on

My daughter had blood drawn 2 times. First time she was 1&1/2 second time was @ 3 yr old check up. It goes SOOOO fast. At 3 I was telling her how cool it is that she can see her blood coming out, since I couldn't stop her from looking. She was pretty interested. But I'm sure not all kids are like that. Really though, it goes so fast. My kid has super sensitive skin and if she were to react to skin pricks, those spots would then turn into eczema spots. What a pain.... so blood draw is much easier. Do you have a phone or game device they could be sidetracked with during the process?


answers from Erie on

have you had a skin prick test yet? I had to watch my 1 year old go through it when he had food allergies. it's not injections, just pricks with allergins on the end of the needle. it's so fast and they can tell right away if he is allergic to something. this may help to do this first. im my ped allergist's office, he does the skin pricks first, then if something comes out that he's not too sure of, then he sends for a blood test. but usually they can tell from the prick test.

I denfintely woudl take him for one of the tests either way...allergies are nothing to mess with. a second of discomfort is worth it for piece of mind that you will know what's going on.

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