What is a Pediatric Allergist
If your child suffers from allergies or other problems with his immune system, a pediatric allergist/immunologist has special skills to treat your child.
Your child’s immune system fights infections. If your child has allergies, her immune system wrongly reacts to things that are usually harmless. Pet dander, pollen, dust, mold spores, insect stings, food, and medications are examples of such things. This reaction may cause her body to respond with health problems such as asthma, hay fever, hives, eczema (a rash), or a very severe and unusual reaction called anaphylaxis.
Sometimes, if your child’s immune system is not working right, he may suffer from frequent, severe, and/or uncommon infections. Examples of such infections are sinusitis (inflammation of one or more of the sinuses), pneumonia (infection of the lung), thrush (a fungus infection in the mouth), and abscesses (collections of pus surrounded by inflamed tissue) that keep coming back.
A pediatric allergist/immunologist finds and treats these allergies and immune system problems.
Sometimes, kids’ allergy symptoms are mild enough to handle at home. But when they become serious or happen a lot, it’s time to see a pediatrician.
Make an appointment with the doctor if your child has:
Hay fever symptoms that last for more than a week or two or happen around the same time each year. The common red flags are a runny nose, congestion, sneezing, and an itchy nose and eyes.
Asthma symptoms, including those that get worse after exercise or at night. The warning signs include shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing, or coughing.
Eczema symptoms, including a very itchy red rash that usually starts in babies, scratching a lot, and thick, scaly patches on the skin.
Allergy symptoms after your child eats a specific food. These could be skin rashes and swelling, wheezing, an upset stomach, paleness, and lightheadedness.
Allergies that keep your child from enjoying playtime or getting a good night’s sleep.
Call 999 if your child’s symptoms are sudden or severe, or include trouble breathing, swelling, passing out dizziness, or chest pain.
In many cases, your child’s pediatrician can diagnose and treat allergies. The doctor may offer:
– Medicines to treat the symptoms
– Advice on how to avoid your child’s allergy triggers
You may need to make changes in your home or to your child’s diet.
Your pediatrician may also refer you to an allergy specialist. An allergist may do a skin test to find out what your child is allergic to. The doctor places a tiny amount of the allergen, such as pollen, dust mites, or specific foods, on your child’s skin — usually on their back or forearm. Then they prick the skin underneath. It’s safe and fairly painless.
If nothing happens, your child isn’t allergic to that trigger. If they get a small raised bump that itches like a mosquito bite, they may be.
If your child has food allergy symptoms, the doctor may suggest that they should not eat certain foods for several days to see if their issues go away.
They may also suggest shots or tablets that go under the tongue to gradually make your child less sensitive to allergy triggers. For children who have a severe reaction to certain foods, the doctor will prescribe emergency medication.