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Allergy Testing for Kids

Photo of kids with allergies blowing bubbles.

Kids get allergies, but allergies shouldn’t get your kids.

Allergies are the third most common chronic disease in children, and their prevalence is increasing in western societies. In fact, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) statistic cited by the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI“Worldwide, sensitization rates to one or more common allergens among school children are currently approaching 40%-50%.3.”

That means about half of all children suffer from at least one of the atopic (allergic) diseases – allergies, asthma, food allergies, or eczema. That’s why we recommend early allergy testing for kids. But why the increase in allergies in children? Researchers have a few theories.

Hygiene Hypothesis

One theory is the hygiene hypothesis. It suggests that our relatively recent improvements in hygiene and reductions in childhood disease may not allow our immune systems to correctly learn to recognize allergens as harmless. When any substance is presented to our skin, nose, lungs, or gut, our bodies must decide if that substance is an infection or something harmless. In allergic children and adults, our bodies incorrectly decide that the harmless substance is possibly an infection. In that case, we call the otherwise harmless substance an allergen. This incorrect identification of the allergen as a possible infection causes inflammation and leads to symptoms of runny nose, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, and possibly hives and anaphylaxis.

Some researchers indicate that children could benefit from playing outside in the dirt more often. By doing so,
their bodies’ immune systems can recognize harmless allergens as such. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid allergy testing for kids – you can do both!

Atopic March

The type of allergies we often see in children is called the atopic march. In the atopic march, an infant may have eczema very early, followed soon after by food allergies. Some of these food allergies may resolve in childhood while some may persist into adulthood. Milk and egg allergies usually, but not always, are outgrown over time. However, nut and seafood allergies usually, but not always, continue into adulthood.

As the atopic march continues, the child will develop allergic rhinitis or hay fever. This sometimes happens before the age of 6-12 months, but it frequently takes two to three years to fully manifest.

While allergic children frequently wheeze early in life, a full diagnosis of asthma is generally made sometime after the development of allergic rhinitis. While this pattern of atopic march is most common – eczema, then food allergies, followed by allergic rhinitis, and finally asthma – is seen very often, every child is different. Some children develop only some of the above diseases, and some develop them in a different order.

Why a Pediatric Allergist is Best to Treat and Conduct Allergy Testing for Kids

Unfortunately, kids can develop allergies as early as when they’re newborns. Sometimes, the symptoms can be mistaken for other ailments, delaying treatment. Treating allergies is usually more successful when started early in a child’s life, so it’s important to do testing for allergies in kids as soon as possible.

Working with a pediatric allergist in Cincinnati will enable you to address your child’s allergies at the earliest possible moment. The sooner we identify your child’s specific allergies, the sooner we can improve his/her quality of life. Our goal is to do allergy testing on kids early on so they can do what kids do best: learn, play, repeat.

Allergy Testing for Kids: Get Tested. Get Better.

Allergy testing by a pediatric allergist is the first step to a better quality of life for your child and for your entire family. Find out what medications might be appropriate for your child to help prevent symptoms or treat symptoms once they appear. Our pediatric allergists can work with you to develop a plan that treats your child’s symptoms and possibly enhances your child’s immune system. Make an appointment today to find out how we can work together for your child’s health.