Background: Children with suspected allergies can be tested for IgE sensitivities with in vivo or in vitro testing, but parents’ and childrens’ experiences of these different allergy test modalities have not been studied.
Objective: To investigate parents’ and childrens’ experiences and views of allergy testing (Skin Prick Testing (SPT) and allergen-specific IgE blood tests).
Methods: Qualitative study of children and their parents attending a paediatric allergy clinic. Semi-structured interviews were conducted by telephone using an interview guide that explored their experience of allergy testing. Interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic content analysis was performed.
Results: 16 parents and 6 children were interviewed. The characteristics of skin prick tests particularly valued were the immediacy and visibility of results, which enabled testing and interpretation to be achieved within a single clinic appointment. In vitro testing offered simplicity and speed, with only a single puncture site and procedural speed. Some perceived it to be a superior test as it was a laboratory-based test. Parental accounts of in vitro testing often included reference to their own discomfort, as well as their young child’s discomfort as they were restrained for venepuncture.
Conclusion and clinical relevance: Several areas for improvement in allergy testing service provision were highlighted, particularly a need for greater information in advance about what will happen in the allergy clinic to reduce anxiety and misunderstandings. Also, SPT with an already identified allergen can cause concern and distress as it appeared to contradict previous instructions given for allergen avoidance.
Published Date: 2019-03-04; Received Date: 2019-02-16