Did you know that childhood allergies are often hereditary? If both parents have allergies, a child has a 75% chance of having them. If one parent has allergies, a child has a 50% chance of having them. Allergies can occur in children at any age. The earlier these allergies are recognized, the sooner they can be treated, reducing symptoms, and enhancing quality of life.

Common allergy symptoms

The most common allergy symptoms in kids include:

  • Rashes on the skin
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing, a runny nose, or congestion
  • Itchiness in the eyes
  • Stomach ache

Allergies can be triggered by a range of factors, including irritants both indoors and outdoors, as well as certain foods. If your child exhibits allergy symptoms, schedule an appointment with a paediatrician or an allergist (a doctor who specialises in allergies). Keep a record of your symptoms and exposures before the visit. This will assist the doctor in determining whether there is a pattern. They can do several allergy tests to help discover particular allergies your child may have.

When should you test your child for allergies?

Allergies are common in babies, toddlers, and children, and they can disrupt your child’s sleep, attendance at school, diet, and general health. Allergy testing is necessary for your child’s safety if they have bad reactions to certain foods. You can have your child tested at any age; however, skin tests are normally not performed on children under the age of six months. In very young children, allergy tests may be less accurate. Good to know: If your child experiences allergy or cold-like symptoms that don’t go away after a few weeks, consult your doctor about the likelihood of allergies and whether allergy testing is necessary.

What different allergy tests are available?

There are several different tests that can be performed to confirm or rule out allergies.

Prick test on the skin

A little drop of an allergen is applied to your child’s skin in a skin prick test. It is then punctured with a needle, allowing some of the allergen to enter the skin. If your child is allergic to the substance, a swelling reddish bump with a ring around it will appear. This test is frequently regarded as the gold standard in allergy testing. After the age of six months, it is possible to perform the procedure at any age.

What to anticipate

Before any testing is performed, the doctor will inquire when you first observed symptoms in your child, as well as any medical history they may have. If your child is taking medication, you may need to discontinue it for a period of time before the test. The doctor will then decide which allergens to test for. Typically, the examination is performed on the inside of your child’s arm or on their back. The length of time required for testing varies based on the number of allergens screened. Often, you will receive your child’s results the same day.

Intradermal examination

A little quantity of an allergen is injected into your child’s arm for this test. This is frequently done to screen for penicillin allergies or insect venom allergies.

What to anticipate

This examination will take place in the doctor’s office. A little amount of an allergen is injected under the skin of the arm with a needle. The injection site is checked for any allergic reaction after about 15 minutes.

Examination of the blood

There are numerous allergy blood tests available. These tests detect antibodies in your child’s blood that are specific to certain allergens, including foods. The higher the level, the more likely an allergy will develop.

What to anticipate

The blood test is performed in the same manner as any other blood test. Your child’s blood will be collected, and the sample will be submitted to a lab for analysis. Multiple allergens can be checked with a single blood draw, and no allergic reactions are possible. The results are usually available within a few days.

Patch examination

Patch testing may be performed if your child has had rashes or hives. This can aid in determining whether an allergen is causing skin irritation.

What to anticipate

This test is comparable to a skin prick test, however there is no needle involved. Allergens are applied on patches, which are subsequently applied to the skin. This can be done with 20 to 30 allergens, and the patches are worn for 48 hours on the arm or back. They’re taken care of at the doctor’s office.

Testing for food allergies

Doctors frequently employ skin testing as well as blood tests to diagnose food allergies in children. If both tests come back positive, a food allergy is assumed. A food challenge test may be performed if the results are inconclusive. Food challenge tests are used to assess whether a child has a food allergy as well as whether they have outgrown a food allergy. Because of the risk of adverse reactions, they are usually performed in an allergist’s office or a hospital.

What to anticipate

Throughout the day, your child will be fed increasing amounts of a specific food and closely watched for reactions. At any given time, just one food can be evaluated. Inform the allergist about any medications your child is taking prior to the test, since they may need to be discontinued for a short period of time. The night before the test, your youngster should not eat after midnight. They can only drink clear beverages. On the day of the test, small quantities of the meal in question will be given in increasing amounts with a time interval between each dosage – a total of five to eight doses. After the last dose of food is administered, the patient will be monitored for several hours to see whether any reactions occur. If your kid has an allergic response, they will be treated as soon as possible.

Diet of exclusion

Diets based on elimination are precisely what they sound like. You avoid a food that has been linked to an allergic reaction or intolerance, such as dairy, eggs, or peanuts.

What to anticipate

First, you eliminate the suspected food from your child’s diet for two to three weeks while keeping an eye out for any symptoms. Then, if your child’s allergist approves, you gradually and individually reintroduce each meal, keeping an eye out for allergic symptoms such as changes in breathing, rashes, changes in bowel habits, or difficulty sleeping. Good to know: Whatever allergy testing your child does, it’s critical to consider the results in the context of the symptoms they’ve had and their reactions to specific exposures. Taken collectively, these factors will aid in the confirmation of any specific allergy diagnosis.

What happens if my child is diagnosed with an allergy?

If your child is found to have one or more allergies, the doctor will propose a treatment plan. Depending on the type of allergy, the treatment approach may involve prescription or over-the-counter drugs, allergy injections, or avoiding irritants, allergens, or foods. If your child should avoid certain things, the allergist will advise you on how to do so, as well as how to treat a reaction if your child comes into contact with the allergen by accident. If your child has a food allergy, for example, you will be given an injectable epinephrine pen.


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