When to Consider Allergy Testing and Immunotherapy for Your Child
The sniffling, sneezing and rashes caused by the onslaught of unknown allergies can bring a child to tears – literally and figuratively. Finding out the cause of your child’s discomfort is something most parents are eager to learn, yet unsure of the best way to do so. Allergies are the primary cause of chronic nasal congestion in children. But is allergy testing the answer? Furthermore, should you consider immunotherapy to treat their allergies? Find out in this week’s blog.
Understanding Allergy Testing and Immunotherapy
Allergy testing is an effective way to determine the root cause of allergies. There are two ways to test for allergies. In one method (percutaneous), a small amount of a diluted allergen is applied to the top layer of skin by way of a small scratch or prick. The second method (subcutaneous) involves applying the allergen to the intradermal layer of the skin with a needle. Most allergy testing begins with the percutaneous method. However, it is occasionally, necessary to understand more about the allergy, and the subcutaneous method may be recommended.
Following the application of the allergen, the allergist will wait approximately 15 minutes to see if red, raised spots develop, indicating a possible allergy. If one does, an antihistamine or steroid may be given to lessen the itchiness associated with the reaction.
Once the allergies are determined, treatment options should be considered depending on the type of allergies that exist. Allergy treatment typically begins with medications. If the allergies are not responsive to medication, immunotherapy may be recommended. With immunotherapy, very small doses of an allergen are administered once or twice a week. As treatment continues, the amount of allergen given increases to build resistance and immunity. Once the highest dose is given, maintenance doses are provided to keep immunity levels up.
In conclusion, immunotherapy is a safe and effective treatment for allergies that are unresponsive to medication. Recommended for children age five and up, it can be a positive solution to a frustrating problem. If you would like to learn more about allergy testing or immunotherapy, schedule an appointment with your pediatric provider today at 910-486-5437 or visit us online.