Swelling in the face, breaking out in hives, and difficulty breathing are all symptoms of an allergy. The allergy may be due to food, pollen, dust, mold, or pet dander, and it can cause significant discomfort or even a severe reaction to the one who is allergic.
Allergies are more common in children than in adults, because adults’ bodies have had more time to be exposed to various environmental and food-based molecules – and to adjust to them accordingly. Children’s bodies are more apt to misinterpret a substance as a foreign invader, so their immune system kicks into gear as an allergy upon exposure.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in every 13 children have food allergies, and asthma is a leading cause of absenteeism in schools – and asthma is often triggered by environmental allergies. Let’s talk about how children are diagnosed with an allergy, and who you can see for an evaluation and diagnosis of your child’s allergies.
Why Choose a Pediatric Allergist?
It can be unnerving and stressful for a child to see a new doctor to be tested for allergies, or for anything else for that matter. By choosing an allergist who specializes in diagnosing and treating allergies in children, you can be assured that the specialist knows how to keep pediatric patients comfortable and at ease during the appointment.
The 3 Most Common Tests for Diagnosing Allergies in Children
The first thing a pediatric allergist does is take a detailed account of the child’s medical history and your family’s medical history. Next, the doctor performs a physical exam of your child, and the exam will be followed by one or more allergy tests.
A skin test involves a pediatric allergist pricking the skin to check for antibodies to certain allergens, including food, pollen, or pet dander. The allergist places a small amount of a substance on the skin to check for an allergic reaction. If there is indeed an allergy to one of these substances, small bumps should appear on the skin in as little as 15 minutes. A diagnosis can then be reached and treatment prescribed.
A blood test detects antibodies present in the blood. Allergists use the ImmunoCAP allergy blood tests especially for infants, because they have a smaller surface area of skin and therefore cannot have a comprehensive allergy test done on their skin.
A food test is an at-home test that involves the food elimination diet, in which you keep a food diary and eliminate certain foods from your child’s diet to determine which foods may be causing the reaction. The food elimination diet can be very effective in diagnosing children who have allergies to milk (dairy), soy, peanut, tree nut, and shellfish.
Pediatric Allergist in Northeastern Illinois
Our experienced physicians at Oak Brook Allergists offer a wide range of diagnostic tests and treatments for our pediatric and adult patients. We offer extended weekday hours and also Saturday appointments for your convenience. We always have an allergist on call when we are closed, and your call will be returned quickly.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation with a pediatric allergist, call us today at (630) 574-0460 or complete our appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you get to the bottom of your allergy.