How Can I Find Out What's Causing My Child's Allergies?
Itching, sneezing, rashes, cramps and stomach pains after eating are all symptoms of allergies. If your child frequently displays these symptoms, he or she may have or be developing an allergy. Sometimes the allergen is easy to spot, such as a reaction after a bee sting, but sometimes they’re a bit harder to track down. Use these steps to find out what might be causing your child’s allergy symptoms.
Watch for signs
Keep an eye out for symptoms as your child eats foods, especially common triggers such as soy, dairy, wheat, peanuts and seafood. If your child displays symptoms shortly after consuming these foods, you may have an idea as to what may be triggering a reaction. Also, be on the lookout for how long symptoms last, or if food isn't the cause, if they occur while indoors or outdoors.
When figuring out what’s causing your child’s allergies presently, it helps to determine if there are other family members with allergies, sensitivities or intolerances. Next, keep a log and note where and when allergy symptoms occur: waking up with symptoms at night, symptoms after meals, seasonal outbreaks, reactions at school or at a friend's house.
Even if you've been able to track down one or more triggers and taken steps to prevent exposure to them, it’s best to consult both a pediatrician and an allergist. A pediatrician can give further advice on prevention in specific areas, OTC medications and prescription treatment. Allergists help with other modes of treatment for more severe allergies and can conduct tests if you're still having trouble finding a trigger.
To pinpoint the allergen and find the best treatment for your child’s allergies, a doctor might recommend a blood or skin test. During skin tests, a tiny needle is pricked to expose areas of the skin to allergens such as pet dander or soy. For each positive trigger, a small bump will appear. Bloodwork tests levels of antibodies to allergens. Be advised that normal results can show up even if your child has an allergy, especially in younger children.
Make sure to follow up with your doctors on new allergy research, treatments and advice. Medical professionals may suggest future prevention procedures, allergy shots for certain allergies, or even suggest combination therapy for more complicated allergies. Regardless if your child needs further treatments or not, it always helps to stay informed.