Taking your child to visit an allergist, or any other medical professional, can cause some anxiety for both parent and child. Perhaps it’s the fact that you don’t know what to expect that is causing the anxiety. Maybe you are worried that the suspected allergy is interfering with your child’s quality of life. Perhaps you are tired of late night visits to the emergency room watching helplessly as your child struggles for every breath.
A visit to an allergist can be a positive experience if you are prepared. Remember when you were in school and your teachers encouraged you to come to class prepared with books, a notebook, a pen, and your homework assignment? A visit to your allergist is quite similar. Here are some helpful tips that will prepare your child for her first visit to an allergist.
Tip 1: Record when and where allergies occur
The first time you see your child with what looks like an allergic reaction, record it in a notebook. Where on the body does the reaction occur? What does it look like? What time of day is it? Did the reaction occur at school or daycare? What activities were happening at the time of the reaction? Writing this information down is important to your allergist. This is particularly important if your child experiences a medical emergency like asthma or anaphylactic shock. You will lose important details of the situation if you depend upon your memory once the emergency is over. Remember to take pictures of your child’s skin condition (rash, eczema, swelling, hives).
Tip 2: Make an educated guess as to what is causing the allergy
There are some ways to make an educated guess as to where your child’s allergies are coming from. The fall and spring are known as hay fever season. If your child is experiencing itchy, swollen eyes, a runny nose, and sneezing perhaps hay fever is the culprit. Does your child experience upper respiratory congestion when in the presence of smoke or certain perfumes? Can your home or other environments be infested with mold or dust mites? Do your new clothes contain formaldehyde from dyes? Does your child experience a skin reaction after eating certain foods? Is your child coming into contact with metals such as those found in make-up? Have you checked the ingredients labels in your bathroom for potential allergens in shampoo and toothpaste? Lastly, remember to write down what you did up to 72 hours prior to the occurrence of the rash.
This information will assist your allergist with providing a backstory to how the allergies started. However, be sure to not depend solely upon your suspicions. Please see an allergist for confirmation.
Tip 3: Remove the suspected allergen
Are peanuts or almonds in your child’s lunch the suspected allergen? Try removing them from their lunch for two weeks and note what happens in your journal. Do you think cat dander may be causing your child’s itchy, watery eyes? How does vacuuming more often help the situation? If you find that removing what you think may be the allergen is not helping, that is even more of a reason to get a diagnosis from an allergist.
Once the cause of the allergy is determined, you can make plans for product avoidance or replacement with hypo-allergenic versions of the product. Wash with FRAGRANCE-FREE soap and use cortisone creams, but not longer than 10 days, as there are often irreversible side effects.
Your allergist is a detective, of sorts. However there are some ways that you, as a parent, can support the allergist in doing her work. Keeping a journal is a great first step in providing the allergist with information that can help give your child relief sooner rather than later.
About RAMC: Located in Redondo Beach, CA. Riviera Allergy Medical Center (RAMC) provides a medical facility for a wide range of allergy and asthma related conditions, from nasal allergies and hay fever to skin allergy conditions and scalp eczema. If you or your children are in search of seasonal allergy relief, skin allergy treatment, sinus problems or headaches, or have shown signs of an ibuprofen allergy, you are encouraged to contact the team at RAMC. The office also may be contacted by phone at 310-792-9050. Visit the site at http://RivieraAllergy.com
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To schedule an appointment, please call our office at 310.792.9050 or use our online Request an Appointment form. For additional information on any condition, treatment or procedure, please visit our Health Education Library.