Allergies affect millions of children nationwide, and while you can have your child tested for allergies at any age, it’s best to test when you notice signs that your child may indeed have an allergy.
At Riviera Allergy Medical Center, allergy and immunology specialist Ulrike Ziegner, MD, PhD, a double board-certified Allergist/Immunologist and Pediatrician, provides the highest-quality pediatric and adult allergy care. More than 9 million children in the United States have skin allergies, while 7 million have respiratory allergies, and 5 million have food allergies, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
Rely on the expert training of an allergy specialist if you suspect that your child has allergies. Our team has put together some information on what allergy symptoms parents should look out for, and how to know when the time is right to have your child tested.
Testing children for allergies: What does it involve?
Allergy specialists have various tools to test children for allergies. Your provider determines a course of action depending on the type of allergy your child is suspected of having. Available methods for allergy testing include skin, blood, and dietary tests.
Skin testing is the most common method of testing for allergies. This involves pricking your child’s skin with a concentrated source of chosen allergens. Skin prick testing enables Dr. Ziegner to evaluate more than 50 different allergens at once.
Once the allergens are painlessly applied onto the skin on the child’s back. In children with allergies, the immune system releases histamine in response to allergens that bring out your child is sensitive to. Each allergen is carefully numbered, so Dr. Ziegner knows which allergen caused a reaction. Each red bump (hive) is a positive result. After an incubation period of 20 minutes, Dr. Ziegner will measure the size of the skin reactions that are specific to the allergens applied.
Keep in mind that no test is perfect. Skin prick tests are very accurate, but if there is a high suspicion of an allergy to a certain substance that your child’s skin did not react to, discuss further testing with Dr. Ziegner.
Blood tests and food challenges might also help to detect an allergy. Dr. Ziegner provides guidance on which allergy test is right for your child.
When should I get my child tested for allergies?
If your child has allergy symptoms, there’s no need to hesitate to contact us at Riviera Allergy Medical Center to schedule testing. Allergies are on the rise among school-aged children, and the earlier your child receives a proper diagnosis, the sooner your child can start treatment and feel better.
Some signs of respiratory allergies are:
- Itchy eyes
- Watery eyes
- Itchy nose
- Runny nose
Your child may have symptoms year-round if they’re allergic to indoor allergens, or they may experience seasonal symptoms that strike when outdoor allergens peak.
If you suspect your child has a food allergy, watch out for:
- Stomach pain
- Changes in bowel habits (especially diarrhea)
- Rashes, eczema or hives
The most common food allergies, referred to as the “Big 8” are:
- Cow’s milk
- Tree nuts
Your child may have skin allergies if you notice:
- Dry skin
- Itchy skin
- Cracked skin
Dr. Ziegner will evaluate your child to determine their skin issues. Eczema, which involves an abnormal immune response, causes skin symptoms that are easy to mistake for skin allergies.
She is trained to recognize the difference and make the right diagnosis. This is crucial since eczema requires a unique and tailored management approach.
If your child has allergy symptoms, don’t wait. We can help. To get started, call our Redondo Beach, California, office at 310-504-3242 to book an appointment with Dr. Ziegner. You can also send a message to Dr. Ziegner and the team here on our website.