Allergy Testing for Your Kids

Allergies are quite common amongst children in Australia and it's favourable to be able to identify an allergy early so as to be able to avoid it in the future and prepare for any adverse reactions. Understanding an allergy is the best method of control, so getting your child tested if you suspect he or she may have an allergy is a good step to take. There are a few different ways that your doctor or allergy specialist may test for allergies in order to identify them.

Elimination Tests

If you suspect that your child may have an allergy or intolerance to a food then your doctor may recommend that you employ the elimination method of trialling for allergies. This means cutting out certain suspects from your child's diet for a prescribed amount of time in order to determine what changes, if any, eventuate from the removal of these foods. Usually this means removing part of your child's diet for a week or two that you suspect may be causing the problem or that is a common culprit for causing allergies in kids, like milk, eggs, nuts, shellfish or wheat, for example.

Percutaneous and Intradermal Skin Tests

These are skin tests which are considered both safe and accurate and are performed in a controlled environment by a trained professional. Percutaneous tests are conducted by administering a diluted sample of a suspected allergen to a small prick or scratch on the top layer of the skin, while the intradermal method delivers the allergen into the skin using a needle. The intradermal method may cause anaphylaxis in extremely sensitive patients but a trained professional will be prepared and equipped to deal with such a reaction.

Once the allergen is administered the affected area is observed for about 15 minutes to determine whether any reaction takes place.

Patch Skin Tests

The patch testing method screens for about 30% of the most common allergies and is a good first step for kids with suspected allergic contact dermatitis. Patients are usually required to leave the patch test on the skin for 48 hours and keep it from getting wet. The doctor or allergist administering the test will check for reactions at different intervals throughout the testing process to monitor the results.

Blood Tests

Blood testing for allergies works by detecting and measuring the amount of antibodies in the blood that are produced when the patient comes into contact with an allergen. Blood tests usually screen for the ten most common allergens and can be very helpful in detecting food allergies. These tests are generally administered when the patient is using medication that may interfere with skin testing, has a history of anaphylaxis, has problematic asthma, has a severe skin condition or has an unstable heart condition. It's more expensive than skin testing and takes longer to process the results but doesn't require the cessation of any medications and is the preferred method for infants.

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There's plenty of support for kids dealing with allergies that can help you through the process from identification to prevention and everything in between. Ask your closest Medicare Local for advice and services in your area that will help you manage your child's allergies and maintain a healthy, happy and safe lifestyle while avoiding problem allergens.