Childhood allergies can be a scary thing, even though they are common. Allergies often begin during childhood between the toddler years and early grade school, either lessening as the child gets older or continuing into adulthood. To take the fear out of allergies, you should get your child tested to find out what his or her triggers are. Being prepared and avoiding a bad situation can get your kid back to being a kid and decrease the stress level of both child and parent. Here’s what you can expect when having your child tested by a child allergist.
How to Know If Your Child Needs to Be Tested
A child with allergies will have symptoms. These can include childhood asthma, irritated or inflamed nasal passages, swelling or rash brought on by food, medication or insect stings, and skin rashes such as eczema or contact dermatitis. A doctor can help you determine whether a runny nose is caused by an upper respiratory infection or an allergy.
What an Allergy Test Entails
If your child has symptoms of childhood asthma or mild to serious allergies, he should see a child allergist who will decide on the appropriate methods to make a diagnosis. If the doctor finds that your child has specific allergies, the allergist doctor can then treat him with a combination of avoidance strategies, diet changes, allergy shots or medication. Before starting the testing, your doctor will need the child and family’s medical history of asthma and allergies and to conduct a physical examination. They will then move onto skin, blood or elimination tests to detect allergy triggers.
There are several possible hypersensitivity skin tests your doctor can perform to detect allergies to airborne allergens, foods, penicillin, insect stings and other triggers. The allergist may start with percutaneous and intradermal skin tests which provide 15-minute results by applying or injecting a diluted form of the allergen under the skin. It can be conducted on any child over the age of 6 months and is considered low-risk and accurate. Patch tests are also used to determine contact dermatitis causes such as rubber, metals or fragrances. This test doesn’t have immediate results and can take several days.
Sometimes skin tests are difficult to administer because of outside influences such as medications that can interfere. In these cases, a blood test would be used. Keep in mind that blood tests are usually less sensitive than skin tests in detecting allergens.
Food allergies may be detected using an elimination diet test. The child with suspected allergies would be supervised over the course of a week as they eliminate and isolate foods that are suspected to cause the reaction. Many children are allergic to peanuts, eggs, soy, wheat, tree nuts, shellfish or dairy. This type of test might be harder to administer as allergens are often disguised in processed or packaged foods. Parents should try to stick with fresh foods and monitor their children as often as possible to make sure they are not sneaking possible allergens into their diet.
If your child is showing signs of allergies or asthma, it’s important to get them proper medical care. Both conditions can be life-threatening, but with appropriate attention, the risks can be reduced so your child can live a normal life.
Contact The Allergy and Asthma Center of the Rockies today to schedule an appointment to have your child tested for allergies by our professional and compassionate staff.