Medical Mondays: Allergy Testing

Needles, right?

Not quite.

I recently went through some allergy testing and it wasn’t that bad.

Gasp! How can that be! Needles. Long, thick, prickly, itchiness.

You’ve got it wrong.

It’s just a little prick, a scratch to just break the surface of the skin and then the substance you are testing for is injected on top of the scratch and permeates under the skin. Granted, if you are allergic, the skin will turn red and get itchy, but no more than a fire ant bite or mosquito bite. It’s not that bad, honestly. Note, they even have some anti-itch cream they will give you.

That’s the first test, the second test goes a little deeper and is a bit more intense but again it is only a mild prick of the skin and a little injection just under the skin. If you don’t watch, it won’t bother you much at all. For me, it’s more the idea of what they are doing then how it actually feels:

Scariness of the doctor = actual pain/imagined pain X seeing needles X scary things your body doesn’t normally do.

 So if you don’t see the needles or what weird things they are doing to you, the scariness factor of the visit should go down. The imagined pain should go down as well if you won’t watch because scary things look more painful than they really are and you might psych yourself up to higher degree of felt pain if you see what’s going on. My technique is to let them do a few and get used to how it feels and my reaction and then see what they are doing so that the process is demystified for me.

How do you cope with needles?