Advice needed re allergy testing


I’m hoping some of you will have some experience with allergy testing and may have some advice for me.

A few days ago (less than 12 hours before I was due to board a flight to India for a holiday) I experienced anaphylaxis. It was horrible and scary and the ambulance came and I was admitted to A&E and hooked up to IV electrolytes, steroids and anti histamine. It knocked me around a fair bit but I’m feeling alright now.

The ambos and the ER Dr said that if I have another reaction it will be a lot worse, so now I have to carry an Epipen with me everywhere. :frowning: As the cause of the allergic reaction is unknown I’m grounded - not going to India or anywhere really until I know what I’m allergic to and what sort of measures I need to put in place. There are three possible culprits (things that were unusual for me on the day it all happened): the flu vaccine, a new facial scrub and the second part of the oral Cholera vaccine.

BUT, I can’t get in to see an immunologist for a couple of months. AND prior to the appointment I’m not supposed to use any anti histamines for three days. And there’s the rub. As per my signature I’m on 16 mg (four tablets) of Periactin per night. The nurse/receptionist said if I can’t stop taking the Periactin they can do blood tests instead of skin prick. But I don’t know enough about it (nor did the receptionist) to know if it’s really better to stop the Periactin. Any thoughts??


OMG - flipping scary! SO glad you are OK

AM v surprised receptionist didn’t offer to discuss with DR and call you back. This can’t be an unusual occurrence (I was mainlining antihistamines when my eczema was at its worst). I’d be reluctant to stop and start the peri if it actually helping you given the prothiaden experience. I’ve had a few rounds of allergy testing (skin pricks) and interestingly wasnt told no antihistamines beforehand -0 just not for the duration of the test, but this was quite a while ago now. I actually had to wear some patches for a day for some things, and was really reactive to one of them so that was an unpleasant 24 hrs. But that was in the UK and a few years ago now. Maybe things have changed

Frankly if you had anaphylaxis while on prothiaden I’d be surprised if it would mask the kind of reaction they are looking for, but I’m not a DR (although I couldnt help googling

… .the bit about challenge testing is reassuring…resus facilities!!)

Personally I’d go for the blood tests if both are equally accurate and available so you don’t interfere with the migraine regime - you do don’t need migraine and allergic reaction on test day

v sorry about your holiday - hope the insurance will pay out if you’re out of pocket. :frowning: and very glad you’re OK!

Hi Victoria - was very shocked to read of your experience. Thanks goodness you’re OK. Only ever had skin prick allergy tests and wasn’t told to avoid anything at all before the testing, so can’t really help with yout question. I hope you get to the bottom of it asap and wish you all the very best.


Antihistamines block allergic reactions, this the reasoning for stopping thier use before skin prick testing. Allergy testing by skin pricking basically takes a tiny amount of allergen protein (dust, dust mite, pollen, horse hair, cat dander etc as common examples) and allow them to penetrate the very top layer of the skin. If you are allergic to these proteins, then your body will release histamines (think of them as little exploding capsules of fluid meant to flush your system of foreign bodies or pathogens) when they are recognized by your immune system (IgE). Antihistamines block this reaction so that you don’t get all watery eyed and runny nosed every time you get near pollen or a cat or a dusty house–or itchy skinned as in hives etc. BUT–if you take the antihistamines prior to skin testing, then any reaction you might have to the test would be muted so if you are seriously allergic to cats, the reaction wouldn’t really appear to be a positive reaction, because you’ve blocked the reaction with the drugs. So, your doctor says you aren’t allergic, but when you go home and start scratching Patches behind the ears you start to sneeze and cry if you don’t take your allergy meds.

If you have serious allergies and absolutely can not stop taking your antihistamine prior to the skin testing, then call your doctor’s office and let them know. THEY will decide to run the blood work, as that will be the only option they have at that point.

Also, if they suspect an allergy to specific immunizations, they will likely take blood AND do skin tests to rule out environmental allergies (skin pricks) and pharmacologic allergies (blood work) due to the vaccines.

Good luck–that’s a scary one.

Hey Vic,
I recently had both skin pricks and blood testing done. I was advised not to take any antihistamines 3 days prior to the skin test, but that was just for OTC such as Benadryl or Allegra. My skin test was inconclusive so we did blood testing after, I was not given any restrictions on what medications I could/could not take prior to the blood test. I would definitely ask your doctor if you’re meds are on the restricted list and if so the blood test is probably an easier option. and seriously I don’t care what the doctor says before hand those needle pricks HURT, especially when they’re testing for everything under the sun, I had 45 “test sites” done on my back so much happier with one needle jab in my arm for the blood test than 45 needles in my back during the skin test.
best of luck

You guys need to tell your allergists to catch up with modernity!!! They haven’t had to use under skin injections for allergy testing for more than 5 years now!!! The newer tests feel like they are scratching you with velcro!!

If they are still using individual syringes to prick you–tell them to call into the millenial hotline for a quick fix of “today’s medicine.” :lol:

Thanks for the feedback guys. I’ll try and get some more info from the clinic but I’m inclined to stay on the Periactin and push for blood tests.

Given that I had anaphylaxis after I’d taken my Periactin and prior to the paramedics arriving I also took 50mg of Phenergen (which they said was a good thing to have done) but was still horribly ill I’m fairly certain it’s not a subtle problem…also, not surprisingly this event has triggered some fairly substantial migraine activity. So I’m reluctant to wean off meds right now.


I don’t have any advice, but I just wanted to say I am thinking of you and hope whatever it is keeps a lid on itself. x

Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez peri AND phenergan…flippin heck woman you were lucky

Golly…Vic… life is full of surprises & you could do without another one so not stopping the Periactin sounds like a good move! Definitely go for the blood test and hope the the immunologist has a cancellation & you can see him sooner than 2 mths. Thinking of delaying my flu shot now 'til you report back.

Hi guys,

There’s been some developments. Happily, I managed to get a cancellation appointment with an immunologist today. Plus, a friend of a friend had pulled some strings to get me in to see a ‘top man’ in about three weeks.

So at the appointment today the doc said I’ll need to wait a couple more weeks to get a blood test done (something to do with antibodies from memory) but he’s inclined to think it was either the Cholera vaccine or Doxycycline (malaria prophylaxis) of which I’d also taken one tablet on the day in question. Unfortunately he said blood tests for medicine allergies can be inconclusive, in which case we’d need to look at doing a skin test and if that’s the case I’d need to be off the Periactin, but I’ll cross that bridge if and when I need to. If that didn’t show anything he said I could do a ‘challenge’ test but I have no interest in doing that! I’ll just never use Doxyclycline or have a Cholera vaccine ever again. It’s not like I’m allergic to gin and tonic - that would be a tragedy!

I did mention that I still feel really unwell a lot of the time and that I wasn’t sure if the symptoms (fatigue, brain fog, ‘out of it’, general unwellness, some vertigo…sound familiar??) were as a result of the anaphylaxis or migraine (kicked off by the anaphylaxis). The good news (sort of) is that he said it is completely normal to feel like shit for several weeks afterwards so I do feel somewhat reassured that this will all pass in time and isn’t another period of chronic migraine.

Thanks for everyone’s advice thus far, it’s much appreciated :slight_smile:

Cant add much here Vic, I had allergy prick testing up the arms (showed nothing) and then allsorts stuck on my back, showed up allergies to cobalt and very badly to nickel.
The doxy interested me, as when I was told I had Lymes disease (years ago) by a private dr. who was diagnosing everyone with it after 5 mintues of talking to them on the phone :shock: I took doxycycline antibiotic as part of the treatment, the idea was that I was meant to get up to pretty large doses over months then add another antibiotic. Well I just lasted out the week. The first day I was dizzy, second and third day, dizzier still, built up until a full blown vertigo attack on day 7. I reacted really badly to it. I wouldnt touch the stuff again either.

Hope you start to feel better soon, what a bummer just before a good holiday :frowning:


By way of update I saw another immunologist today (top man, friends in the medico field pulled some strings to get me in). He was great - so thorough. I’m still waiting for some blood test results but it’s looking like it’s not something obvious and easy like food so am likely to need skin testing. So I’ll need to come off the Periactin. I discussed with the immunologist about substituting something else if I need to, particularly as my migraine activity has ramped up since the anaphylaxis. Surprisingly, he said a lot of the meds have anti histamine quality, including Prothiaden. I mentioned Topamax, he suggested a beta blocker. I’ll try and get in touch with Dr Granot for his advice on what would be a good option for me.


I missed your post, sorry! What an odd reaction to Doxy you had! I’ve had it many, many times before with no problems at all. But, apparently, allergies can develop. Also interesting that Lyme was considered for you.


Today I saw Dr Granot. Wonderful response as I’d emailed him on Wednesday night and in response his receptionist rang the next day (yesterday) to squeeze me in today.

He was pretty concerned about the post anaphylaxis migraine explosion. Happily, he also knows my immunologist (and confirmed he’s the best in town), and they share patients. With regards to tapering off Periactin prior to the skin test he said “Why are we torturing you like this?!” and advised me to get the skin test ASAP, dump the Periactin the few days prior then jump straight back on and titrate back up to 16 mg very quickly a) because it’s been working so well for me up until this flare up and b) as I’m clearly an allergic person I need anti histamine flowing through my veins. He seemed to think a few days of feeling like shit was better than a protracted taper given what’s been going on and that we need to get this sorted.

He wants to see me in a few weeks and consider another MRI (I didn’t probe too deeply into ‘why’ after he said to not think about it as I’ve got enough on my plate!).

Skin test is booked in for next Friday. Fingers crossed!

Vic, what were your symptoms when you first got this problem? When the ambulance carted you off?

I had a bad reaction to Septrin (antibiotic) years ago. I got the usual lumps and bumps, but my top lip swelled up and my face looked distorted. My temperature went up.

It took 5 days for all that to sort itself out. I react to loads of stuff, but usually in a milder form. Started when I was a child, allergic to strawberries (I am not now :smiley: )
and I couldnt drink milk. I have lots of nice childhoold photos of me with eczma :shock:

I hope these tests manage to sort out some of this for you.


Dr G to the rescue once again!! :smiley:

— Begin quote from "cmoc"

Vic, what were your symptoms when you first got this problem? When the ambulance carted you off?

I hope these tests manage to sort out some of this for you.


— End quote

Started as gastric upset which quickly developed into hives then even more quickly my throat was constricting and I was having trouble breathing - that’s when I called the ambos. I also started to feel really, really sick (faint, nauseous, weak etc) and started to shake uncontrollably in the ambulance. In hospital the rash filled out and my entire body was red and inflamed.

I’ve been wheezy and unwell and migrainey since.

I got my blood test results back today. Bloods fine, no allergies detected. I, however, have elevated serum tryptase (described to me over the phone by the dr as the ‘allergy hormone’). I’ve done some Googling (madness I know) and it’s not looking great.

Skin test on Friday.

I have just read some of the severe nasty side effects from the Septrin they gave me all those years ago. Its quite frightening what we put in our bodies trusting the medical profession that they are OK to take. Your side effects were similar (although more severe) to what I had with the Septrin. I dont understand the blood tests or the raised serum tryprase after the event as I didnt have any blood tests taken, but it seems Septrin was known to cause this problem so it was pretty clear cut. I hope you get some answers.


Victoria, have you tried doing a body pH test. You can buy strips to test yourself at home. I suffered from chronic hives for 10 months (hives head to toe every day) about 5 years ago before I got dizzy. I tried, medications, diets, light treatments, detoxes the list was endless, but in the end the way I got rid of them was balancing my body pH level with apple cider vinegar and bi-carb soda. Maybe you’re bodies pH level is out of whack…

Hi Krystal,

It’s not a PH thing. I got my (second lot of) blood and urine tests back today actually. What is showing up is a persistently elevated serum tryptase level. You expect it to spike after anaphylaxis, but if its an allergy it should quite quickly go back to normal. Which mine hasn’t - six weeks on. I’ve had lots of tests and various things have been excluded so it’s looking like systemic mastocytosis is the most likely culprit. I have to get a bone marrow biopsy ASAP. Not fun :frowning:

Thanks for your input though, much appreciated!