Roughly one in three children experience allergies. The best way to help ease your child’s allergy discomfort and avoid asthma is early detection! Allergy testing can be performed on children six (6) months of age and older. With many options available, allergy tests have come a long way. Continue reading to learn when to identify if your child needs an allergy test and what types of tests are offered.
When should my child be given an allergy test? If your child gets a reaction after eating a certain food or sniffles during pollen season, it might be time for an allergy test. The lasting and overbearing allergy symptoms that your child experiences can negatively affect their diet, education, sleep routine, and well-being.
Types of Child Allergy Tests
The following is a list of allergy tests that your child may or may not have to take:
- Patch test: Patch tests are generally painless and help detect allergic reactions that may be delayed. Patch tests are performed by placing a patch with allergens on your child’s skin (most commonly on their back). Typically, the patch is left on for 24-48 hours before removing it. If your child experiences an intense reaction to the allergy test, please immediately contact medical professionals.
- Puncture test: A puncture test or ‘skin prick test’ will immediately check for up to 50 different allergic reactions. Puncture tests are performed by placing an allergen on your child’s skin (forearm or back) and ‘pricking’ it. Your child’s skin will then be immediately checked for a reaction. The most common reasons for allergy puncture tests include; Pet dander, dust mites, food, mold, pollen.
- Skin injection test: Skin injection tests, also known as intradermal tests are done by using a needle to place a small amount of allergen under your child’s skin and checking for a reaction. Please keep in mind that ‘skin tests’ can cause anaphylaxis in patients highly sensitive to certain allergens. Please consult your child’s pediatrician before allowing any type of skin test to be performed on your child.
- Elimination diet: Elimination diets simply mean that your child must cut out certain foods from their diet. These foods generally include; eggs, milk, wheat, soy, fish, and nuts. With an elimination diet, you will soon learn if any of the foods are causing them to have certain allergy symptoms. This type of allergy test tends to be lengthy because it involves the elimination of one food at a time.
- Blood test: Blood tests are beneficial and may be recommended because they do not have the risk of adverse reactions. This is especially good news for those sensitive and highly affected by specific allergens. To administer this test, your child will have their blood drawn and sent to lab testing. It takes roughly 1 to 2 days to process this type of test.
Please remember that allergy tests can give false results therefore, they do not always give the final verdict when it comes to a specific allergy your child may have. There are many factors that your child’s pediatrician will consider when diagnosing and treating your child for allergies. Allergy treatment plans look different for every child and a single treatment plan should not be considered for all children.
Please contact your child’s pediatrician if your child has any of the following:
- Hives and/or rashes
- Coughing and/or wheezing
- Cold-like symptoms lasting over a week and at the same time every year
- Asthma symptoms