Kids’ Allergies

Allergies in children: when should an allergist be consulted?
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Allergies in children: when should an allergist be consulted?

2011-09-26

By Dr. Marie-Josée Francoeur

Your physician may refer your child to an allergist to confirm and specify the diagnosis or if they have not responded well to treatment. Furthermore, there is no minimum age to be referred to an allergist or to undergo skin tests; however, it may take time to prove a sensitivity to aeroallergens. In fact, skin tests are sometimes less sensitive at a young age for inhalants or aeroallergens (mites, pets, pollen). Skin tests for inhalants can be negative (especially for children under six years of age), despite the presence of typical symptoms of allergic rhinitis. When tests are positive for one or more particular allergens, it will be possible to give you specific advice on environmental control.

When your child is referred to an allergist, depending on their age, you can give them a brief description of what will happen in order to lessen the fear of skin tests: explain to the child that small drops will be applied to their forearm, and that the skin under these drops will be lightly scratched to find out what they are allergic to. This test is fast and hardly painful. There is no specific time of the year to undergo allergy tests; however, antihistamines must not be taken for at least two days before the appointment.

The views expressed are solely those of the author based on his knowledge and expertise and do not necessarily represent the views of the manufacturer.

If you think you are experiencing allergy symptoms, please consult your healthcare professional for a definitive diagnosis
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