When Andrea’s son – Ben – was 6 years old, he started to break out into the rash, and his eyes had a red rim.

These symptoms appeared when he played outside. Andrea immediately made him drink an allergy medicine and they rapidly disappeared. But the problem recurred 1 week later which made her worry a lot and she brought him to the doctor. Ben had pediatric allergist, and the test result revealed that he was allergic to the pollens of flowers and grasses. “There are a lot of trees around our house. It is possible that the boy plays and rolls on grass. And the allergy happens.” – said Andrea.

Description: Allergy to the pollens of flowers and grasses

Allergy to the pollens of flowers and grasses

Allergies caused by food, medicine or environment are parents’ concern, making then want to have an allergy test for their kids. Typically, they can’t tell the difference between an anaphylactic shock and ordinary sore eyes. However, the allergy test is not really necessary in all cases and parents should know its limits. Some advices parents should take into consideration to decide to take the allergy test for their kids or not are as follows. 

Can allergy be tested?

Description: Can allergy be tested?

Can allergy be tested?

According to Janet Roberts, a pediatric allergy expert, “No age is too young to do an allergy test; you should do it as soon as there are germs of allergy”. However, the problem that parents encounter is they can’t recognize the allergy germ in kids’ bodies before the disease really emits. For example, we can’t know if kids are allergic to pollen or not until they catch the disease in spring.

After researching, doctors made a physical test of whether kids would have the rash when taking medicine and they would have eye sore caused by animal’s feather. Your task was providing fully with symptoms when you started to catch the disease. Children having chronic asthma, otitis or surinfection eczema stand a high chance of being allergic. Meanwhile, if a child lives in a family which has a tradition of being allergic, he or she may not get that allergy like his/her parents and siblings. For example, only 1 – 2% children have nut allergy, this possibility rises only to 5% if their siblings used to eat nuts. Moreover, if a child has siblings who catch this allergy, that family won’t restore the food that causes allergy. Therefore, that child will stand little chance of catching the disease.

However, there has been no research giving a definite solution about allergy possibility at children. According to Dr. Robert, “Nothing is 100% sure. We used to have wrong test results and diagnosis for pediatric allergy and it is impossible to make a conclusion without linking to individual situations”.

Test formats

Pricking skin with needles is a quick, cheap way and it can test many kinds of allergies concurrently. The doctor uses a liquid mixture containing allergens and applies on kids’ skin, usually on their arms. Concurrently, he pricks that skin area with a needle. If there is a swell, it proves that you are allergic to that liquid.

A more sensitive method is testing inner skin, which enables to test one kind of allergy such as penicillin or bee sting – substances that you can’t be aware of if using the pricking method. The testing inner skin includes diagnosing reactions of body to allergens among layers of epidermis However, in some cases, both methods give wrong results. Stuart Carr – an expert in allergy and immunity, said: “The skin thickness may cause a “negative” result, making you misunderstand about your situation”.   

If the pricking method and inner skin are not effective, or give unidentified results because your children are taking medicine or have surinfection eczema, testing blood is an ideal method. Blood is tested based on separated antibodies. However, these tests are expensive and limited in some specialty hospitals. They take a lot of time to diagnose and may give wrong results also. In addition, it is not easy to take children’s blood. 

The most exact method is “open experiment”. Your children will try to absorb in one kind of food or an allergen. For example: Let them eat some nuts to observe bodies’ reaction – this is the simplest exercise to check if the allergy recurs or not. Keep in mind that tests can give different results after some years, depending on how many are antibodies left in your body. Therefore, in fact, you should test your children regularly. This may worry parents, but with the technology of hospitals, this process can be executed safely and effectively.   

What should be done after testing?

After tests, children need some next steps of treatment to prevent new allergies (for examples: teenagers stand a high chance of being allergic to environment), or control the recurring allergies. No one can be confident that they completely get rid of allergies: some kids are allergic to milk and egg and this allergy recur usually. Meanwhile, only 1 out of 5 children having nut allergy can get rid of it completely. Follow-up examination depends on kids’ ages and allergy kinds, but usually from 1 to 3 years. In addition, Dr. Roberts noted: “Children grow up so fast, and the immune systems develop as well so they can catch allergy at any time. Regular allergy test is the method of collecting information of children’s bodies so that normal allergies can be prevented and limited”.   

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