What to Know About a Toddler Allergy Test
Maybe you have noticed small hives on your child’s skin after they have eaten certain foods or they seem to have a cold that just will not quit. Perhaps a recent rush to the emergency room has indicated that your toddler needs allergy testing. Here we will talk about a toddler allergy test, how they are done and how to determine allergy symptoms.
Allergy testing can help determine if your child is suffering from an allergy. From there, you can help them avoid the irritant or find viable treatment to help manage it.
For many parents, it may sound like a scary experience, but when you understand what happens at a toddler allergy test you can prepare yourself and your child. This can make the experience a lot less frightening for both of you.
What is a Toddler Allergy Test?
An allergy test takes place with an allergist. Your family doctor will often suggest it if they suspect an allergy is the cause of your child’s symptoms. Allergy signs and symptoms may include:
- Skin rashes
- Inflamed or irritated air passageways
- Breathing difficulties
- Runny nose
- Itchy eyes or skin
- Upset stomach
Before the test, your allergist will ask what signs and symptoms your child has been experiencing. They will also perform a physical, looking for signs and symptoms of an allergy.
Expect to also answer questions relating to family history. When both parents are allergic to something, their child has a 75% chance of also having the same allergy. If one parent has an allergy, your child has a 50% chance of having the same allergy. The allergist will then perform a skin or blood test. Prior to the test, your child should stop taking all allergy medicine a week beforehand.
Different Types of Skin Tests
Your allergist may perform one of two different skin tests. The first, called the percutaneous skin test, places a diluted form of the allergen at the top layer of the skin via a prick or scratch.
The second test, called the intradermal skin test, involves the use of a needle, which injects the allergen into the skin. After the allergen has been added or injected, the allergist waits 15 minutes before they check for any signs of an allergic reaction. These types of tests are often done if a penicillin allergy is suspected.
Other Allergy Tests
A blood test may also be performed. This is frequently performed for suspected food allergies. However, blood test results may take many days.
For skin irritations, the allergist may opt for a patch test. The allergens are placed on a patch which is placed on the skin. The patch is worn for about 48 hours on your child’s arm or back. The patch will be removed and then it is determined whether or not your child has an allergy.
Occasionally, for food allergy testing, elimination diets may be recommended. This can help pinpoint what exactly is causing the problem. Although, this type of testing is more common in adults than children.
Another way an allergist may pinpoint an allergy is via the food challenge test. This is often performed when a blood test and skin test are inconclusive. This test takes place throughout the day. Your child is given more and more of a certain food and monitored for any reactions. Do not worry. This is often done in the allergist’s or doctor’s office where they can intervene if there are any negative reactions.
After an allergy test, your doctor or allergist will recommend treatment. This may involve avoiding the irritant or prescribed medication. If your child is diagnosed with an allergy, inform their daycare or school. Make sure they have medication, such as a puffer or EpiPen, with them and that the school or daycare knows where it is.
Why Should You Get Your Toddler Tested?
Allergy testing can help you understand what irritants are causing your toddler’s ill health. It also offers a way to avoid certain substances or foods that may be causing your child discomfort or harm. Overall, it can improve your child’s overall quality of life and health. Ultimately, it comes down to your child’s safety. Get them feeling better so they can go back to being a kid again!
When Should You Get Your Toddler Tested?
If you notice any of the symptoms listed without cause, it may be time for a trip to the doctor’s office. Allergy testing is available for children six months and over. However, allergy tests may appear less accurate for younger ages. This is because their immune system is still developing and it may give a false result.
Common Allergies to Watch For
Here are some of the most common allergies that occur in people. For children, common allergies include:
- Tree or plant pollen
- Insect stings or bites
- Pet hair
- Dust mites
- Tobacco smoke
- Car fumes
If you notice your child has an adverse reaction after being around or consuming any of the above, book an appointment with your doctor. Find out if allergy testing is the right course of action for your child.