Allergy related conditions are so common that they are among the leading chronic disease diagnoses in infants and children. One study has shown that 4 to 6 percent of children have food related allergies and 15 to 25 percent have hay fever. This study also showed that 8 to 10 percent of children have asthma. Children collectively miss hundreds of thousands of school days each year due to allergies.
It can be stressful for you and your child to identify conditions that may be caused by allergies. The sooner you help your child, the quicker they can get back to enjoying childhood. Medical tests can be frightening for you both, but knowing what to expect the day of the testing will lessen your anxiety. The following facts will help you better understand allergy testing and how you can help your child mentally prepare for a doctor’s visit.
Discovering the reason why your child may need allergy testing
If you notice your child has a symptom that may be caused by an allergy, you should take them to a pediatrician for allergy testing. A doctor will use allergy testing to determine the type of allergy your child has and the treatment needed. Some examples of conditions where it may be helpful to test for allergies include asthma, irritated or inflamed nasal passages, and rashes on the skin.
If your child experiences cold-like symptoms for more than a week, and they happen at the same time every year, they may have allergies. Asthma caused by an allergen indoors may be indicated by coughing and wheezing, especially at night.
The basics of allergy testing
You will need to see an allergist if you suspect your child is suffering from allergies. If your child is found to have one or more allergies, the allergist will consider therapeutic interventions which are appropriate for their condition. These treatments may include medication, avoidance strategies, diet modifications, and allergy shots.
The allergy testing process includes an analysis of your child’s medical history, a family history of asthma or allergies, and a physical exam. The process also includes testing for specific allergens. If your child has an asthma diagnosis, allergy testing can help you understand what is causing the condition and how your child can avoid asthma triggers.
Common allergy testing methods
Immediate and delayed skin tests are useful for detecting many allergies, such as those related to food, penicillin, insect stings, and airborne particles. Intradermal and percutaneous skin tests are immediate tests that are given by scratching the surface of the skin and applying a diluted allergen. These allergy testing methods are considered safe and will provide accurate information. Percutaneous tests are not done on infants younger than six months old, but no other age restrictions apply.
After these tests are given, your child is observed for about 15 minutes for a reaction, which will likely occur as an itchy red bump. The larger the bump, the more intense the allergy.
The patch test is a delayed reaction test used to determine if your child has an allergy to fragrances, certain metals, or rubber. The patch is left on the skin for about 48 hours and needs to be kept dry. The allergist will check for reactions after this time period.
Elimination diet and blood testing
An allergist may give you instructions for an elimination diet if you suspect that your child may be allergic to certain foods. Items often suspected of causing an allergic reaction include milk, eggs, soy, peanuts, wheat, tree nuts, and shellfish. It may be hard to keep these items out of your child’s diet for a week, but you will get more accurate results if you do. The allergist may give doses of suspected foods in an environment that is controlled to see what kind of reaction your child may have.
If you suspect your child has allergies, finding the right pediatrician with experience in allergy testing is important. The office of Dr. John Young in Amarillo, Texas is committed to making allergy testing as easy as possible for you and for your child. Call us today at (806) 354-0404 ext. 330 or Contact Us by email to learn more about our services. You can also visit our office in person at 1500 S. Coulter St., Suite #3 in Amarillo.