Have you have ever thought to yourself, “My child has allergies, what should I do?” If so, never fear! We can help in guiding you in the right direction to improve your child's health and wellbeing.
A growing number of children, ages 18 and under, have a food allergy. According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, the number of children with common allergy sensitivity is approaching 40%-50%. With such significant statistics, it is no wonder so many children miss school and end up with chronic diseases. Many parents are unsure of what is causing their child’s allergic reactions, and finding out the trigger may be the key. By doing this, finding a successful treatment to avoid future complications can be quickly done in partnership with your pediatrician.
When you should have your child tested
Common indications of an allergic reaction to something are inflamed nasal passages, also known as rhinitis, that can be itchy or burn; a runny nose; itchy throat; itchy, burning or red eyes; asthma-like symptoms including wheezing or coughing; skin rashes; itchy skin or reactions to specific foods or insects. If symptoms like these seem to bother a child routinely, it could be an indication of more than just common seasonal allergies. Determining the cause of allergies is important because it will teach a child what to avoid and to keep a safe distance from to prevent more severe reactions.
To help in determining the cause of specific allergens, an allergy testing will need to take place. Allergy tests can take the form of a blood test, skin test or elimination test. Before testing, a medical history will be made including any known history of family members with allergies.
#1 Skin tests.
Skin tests are what most people think of when they think of allergy testing. During these tests, a small amount of diluted allergen will be placed into the patient’s skin via a light prick. Reactions to each allergen will be monitored for 15 minutes following the test, and any reaction will be recorded. For allergens like rubber or latex, a patch test can be performed during which a skin patch will be worn for 48 hours, and reaction monitoring will take place following the removal of the spot.
#2 Blood tests.
Blood tests can also be given to determine allergens and are often used with food allergies. This type of test measures lgE, a type of protein made by the immune system. High levels of this protein usually indicate an allergy.
Elimination tests may be the easiest or safest way to test for food allergies at home and often the first thing parents try when thinking "My child has allergies." During an elimination test, the suspected allergens (usually milk, soy, nut, shellfish or protein) are removed from the diet one at a time for a period of one to two weeks to determine if allergic responses remain once each food is removed. Once the trigger food is recognized, the patient will know to avoid including that food in their diet. This type of test may be hard to perform since certain allergens can easily sneak their way into unexpected foods.
Get the recommended testing
A pediatrician can determine what test your child needs. Schedule an appointment with our office today to learn more about undergoing simple allergy tests to identify triggers. Once the allergen causing your child’s allergic response is determined, you and your child can work on ways to avoid it, and you will never again have to ask, “What should I do if my child has allergies?”
For more information or to schedule an appointment with Homero Garza MD – HG Pediatrics, request an appointment in our Houston office here: https://www.hgpediatrics.com. Or call us at (832) 246-7260.