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What happens in the allergy clinic?

For information about car parking, visit our 'getting here' section.  Allow plenty of time for finding a space at busy times and sufficient change for parking.

When you arrive at main reception, you will be directed to the outpatients department.  Once you have checked in, a member of the team will call you for your appointment.  In the unusual circumstance that you have not been called and it is more than 30 minutes after your appointment time, do let the receptionist know.

If you are unable to attend your appointment, please call the number on your appointment letter or the appointments office: 01782 676676.

Royal Stoke University Hospital

Go to Main Building and check in using the check-in machines in the entrance. Make your way to Outpatients 3 on the first floor.

Bradwell Hospital

Check in at the reception and they will direct you to the waiting area.  There is no parking charge.

County Hospital

The outpatients department is on your right after you have walked through the main entrance and then right again off the main corridor on the ground floor.

One of our specialist doctors or nurses will first take the full details of your symptoms and how they have affected you. Background medical questions will help us to understand other factors that might be involved. From your description of your symptoms and the answers to other questions, the specialist will begin to understand what the causes might be.  A short medical examination might be necessary, but you will always be offered a chaperone if you would like one.

For many patients we can complete the discussion, allergy testing and management plan in one visit.  Occasionally, if we think patients are not allergic they will be invited back for a 'challenge' on a separate visit.

Please leave at least 1- 2 hours for the consultation, testing and management plan.

The best way to make a diagnosis of allergy is from the symptoms and story that you give, but often allergy tests will also be helpful to confirm the diagnosis.  We will test likely allergens, however it is not good practice to screen for all allergens.  Many patients, e.g. those with frequent rash, will not require an allergy test.

Please stop taking your anti-histamines for five days before attending the appointment so that we can carry out skin-prick testing.  

If you have a frequent rash and cannot manage without anti-histamines then you may continue with your normal treatment.  If you wish to discuss this, please contact the allergy nurses on 01782 672504.

Skin-prick test for allergens

A skin-prick test is usually the first test to be done when looking for an allergen. It's quick, painless and safe and you get the results within about 20 minutes. Your skin is pricked with a tiny amount of the suspected allergen to see if there's a reaction. If there is, the skin around the prick will very quickly become itchy and a red, with a swollen mark called a wheal.

Blood test for allergens

The blood test used to test for allergens is called a specific IgE test. It is used to measure the number of IgE antibodies in your blood that have been produced by your immune system in response to a suspected allergen.  The results of this test should be interpreted by a specialist.

Please make sure you bring an up-to-date list of all your medications.

Sometimes people identify food as a possible cause of their allergic symptoms. Please bring in the main ingredients or a list of ingredients which are of concern to your appointment. In particular, testing for fruit and vegetables is best done with fresh, raw ingredients so it is very useful if you can bring these with you e.g. apple, banana, carrot. We will perform the tests that are appropriate to your clinical history.

If the possible allergen is a drug, please bring in the actual box/ carton of the drug or the name of the drug if possible. If you wish to discuss this, please contact the allergy nurses on 01782 672504.

Each patient that attends the service will have an individual written management plan contained within a clinical letter posted to them. Each patient and GP receives a copy of the letter.  For prescriptions required quickly we will give you a note for your GP.  This should be dropped off at your local surgery for your GP to provide a prescription.