When Should You Get Your Child Allergy Tested?

Posted on February 1, 2016

Nasal allergy symptoms affect more than 50 million people in the United States, with more experiencing food allergies, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Allergy symptoms may arise at any age. Some infants are diagnosed with severe, life-threatening allergies while other patients do not experience an allergic reaction until later in life. Connecting your child with an allergy professional is essential for accurate diagnosis and treatment options.

What Are Common Allergy Symptoms?

In the United States, children do not routinely undergo allergy testing as part of a regular physical examination. However, parents must remain vigilant about potential allergy symptoms. Some common symptoms of allergies include:

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  • Coughing
  • Wheezing, especially at night
  • Skin rashes
  • Hives
  • Asthma
  • Symptoms resembling a cold, including runny nose or sore throat
  • Shortness of breath

Our doctors recommend that you pay close attention to the timing and duration of your child’s symptoms. Cold-like symptoms that last more than a week may be a sign of allergies. Additionally, recurrence of similar symptoms every year at the same time is an important sign of allergies.

When to Get Your Child Tested

If you suspect that your child is suffering from allergies, make an appointment with an allergy specialist immediately. Although most seasonal allergies are not life threatening, food allergies can be. Getting an accurate diagnosis is the first step in finding treatment solutions that work for your child.

What to Expect From an Allergist Appointment

The allergist will begin by asking you extensive questions about the symptoms you have noticed in your child. You should also be prepared to answer questions about your own medical history. Having a parent or close relative with allergies increases your child’s risk.

For seasonal allergies, the doctor may recommend a skin test or blood test. By placing small amounts of a potential antigen (or allergy-causing chemical) on your child’s skin, the doctor can measure an abnormal immune response. This is an itchy process for children to endure, but it is highly informative. Blood tests may also provide information about allergens that affect your child.

Food allergies may be diagnosed through an elimination test. By gradually eliminating certain foods (e.g., peanuts, eggs, milk) from your child’s diet, potential food allergies can be tested.

Peconic Bay Medical Center is the leading Eastern Long Island hospital. Our allergy specialists often treat children with unexplained symptoms. Providing an accurate diagnosis can help your allergist recommend treatments that ease your child’s symptoms. Contact us today to make an appointment.

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