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Guide to Allergy Testing for Your Child
Guide to Allergy Testing for Your Child
24 Mar 2023

Guide to Allergy Testing for Your Child

It is usually quite easy for parents to spot the sign that their child is having an allergic reaction; a runny nose and itchy eyes sore throats and sneezing will all be part of the picture. What is not as easy to identify is the cause of the allergy and sometimes parents end up seeking specialist advice to pinpoint to what it is that their child is allergic. Luckily, allergy testing is a sophisticated service that can be offered in doctors surgeries and will quickly identify the cause of a child’s allergy.

To fully understand testing for allergies we need first to understand what gives rise to an allergy. The immune system in your child and in all of us, will provide antibodies that will fight bacteria, viruses and toxins. This is obviously a good thing. What is not so good is when the immune system reacts to everyday substances like dust particles or eggs and treats them as though they were a dangerous threat. If pollen is rejected by the body for instance chemicals are dispatched to cause swelling in the nose lining and that will cause sneezing and congestion.

When your child gets allergic symptoms the doctor will order skin or blood test for proper diagnosis. Here are some kinds of allergy tests for checking allergy in your child.

Children’s Allergy Symptoms

A child of any age can develop the symptoms of allergy. The sooner you find out what these allergies are, the sooner your child can be treated. This is obviously important because symptoms can be very troublesome an impact on the child’s quality of life and even their ability to go to school. Some of the common symptoms experienced with allergy will be:

  • Rashes on the skin
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • A cough
  • A runny nose and sneezing
  • Congestion
  • Itching in and around the eyes
  • Tummy upsets

Both outdoor and indoor allergens can trigger reactions, and of course foods can also give rise to an allergic reaction. If you think that your child gets an allergy visit the doctor or an allergist as early as possible. Before you go to see the specialist for testing keep a detailed log of the symptoms your child has suffered and what he or she has been exposed to that might be the reason for their allergy. 

Are you experiencing any of the symptoms outlined in this article?

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The different types of allergy testing for children

There are several different allergy tests that may be suggested and these might be:

  • Skin prick testing: The person conducting the skin prick test will prick or slightly scratch your child’s skin and introduce a very small amount of a trigger that may give rise to allergy. If the allergen is responsible for your child symptoms the spot at which it is introduced will become red and itchy. Up to 50 allergens can be tested for at the same time.
  • The Skin intradermal injection test: A needle will be used to introduce a very small amount of allergen to your child skin to assess whether there is a reaction.
  • Patch testing: In this test the allergy will be introduced under a patch which will be left in place for a longer period of time to assess your child’s reaction.
  • Blood Testing: Blood samples may be taken to assess for allergies.
  • The elimination diet: A child will be asked not to eat certain foods like eggs, peanuts or milk so that, by a process of elimination, their allergy can be identified. This can be time consuming as only one food is tested at a time.
  • The food challenge test: Your doctor will observe your child as he or she slowly eats a food thought to be responsible for their allergy. This test is usually a test that doctors use, if all else has failed to reveal an answer

How to prepare your child to go for allergy testing:

Do not let your child take antihistamines

Patients are usually asked to stop taking certain medications around three to five days before they come for testing. If your child is already taking antihistamines or any other allergy medication or has been taking cold medicines that have been bought over the counter, these should be stopped because they could interfere with the results of the testing.

Bring something to distract them

Because waiting around for allergy testing and then for the results to be reported can take a bit of time we always advise that you bring something with your youngster to keep them amused while they wait. Although allergy testing is not painful after the test they might find the area of skin that was tested a bit itchy so something to take their mind off this is a very good idea. 

Talking about the Allergy Testing to your child

A child might think it's a bit scary to be told that it's being taken to the doctor for some tests. Make sure that you let them know that their testing will not be painful and point out to them how much better they are going to feel if their allergy can be identified and treated.

The results of allergy testing

One of the main advantages of skin testing for allergy is that you will leave the appointment knowing precisely which allergens are affecting your child. Our experts will work with you to develop plan of action. This may be medication and avoidance or even allergy shots that will desensitise your child to his or her triggering allergens. If your child is diagnosed with a food allergy then one of our experts will probably prescribe an epinephrine auto injector as well as explaining the best way of avoiding coming into contact with the allergen.

If you have additional questions about how to prepare for your visit, contact Medical Express Clinic at 02074991991. 

When you should consider allergy testing for your Child

When children and infants have allergies it can have a quite serious effect on their everyday life and effect:

  • How they sleep
  • Their attendance at school
  • The food that they eat
  • Their general health

If you have identified that your child reacts adversely to certain foods then it's very important that you have allergy testing to ensure their safety.  A child can be tested at any age but usually skin prick tests will not be done on children who are under six months of age. Allergy testing may not give such accurate results in the very young.

If you notice that your child has cold like or allergy type symptoms that don't resolve within a fortnight it is certainly worth speaking to your doctor about whether allergy testing would be a good idea, in their case. 

Concerned about any of the issues raised in this article? It's well worth undergoing a full body health screening to check for underlying issues, with 4 GP appointments included in all Advanced and Elite MOTS throughout 2023.


The results of allergy testing

Once the Doctor who has been testing your child has all the results from the investigations, the next step will be to come up with a treatment plan for the child which could be in the form of:

  • Medication that will treat any symptoms an instructions about any changes necessary in the diet of your child to avoid any allergens that might trigger a reaction.
  • Injections or possibly tablets that will go under the tongue and gradually desensitised your child to their allergy triggers
  • Emergency medication that should be kept on hand in case of a severe reaction

It should be noted that allergy testing will not give the final verdict on whether or not any particular substance is a trigger for your child’s allergy. Your doctor may also look at your child’s history of contacts with food or pollen and any reactions that have been witnessed to either.  It is also possible to get false negatives and false positives so caution will be taken when interpreting results.

Allergy Testing FAQs

Here is some questions that people frequently ask about allergy testing in children

How accurate will the results of the testing be?

Results can vary somewhat depending on the specific allergy and on the type of test used. Your doctor will explain to you the reliability of the tests that he or she intends to use.

All skin prick tests conducted at Medical Express Clinic are performed by our Consultant Immunologist, to ensure that you get the best service possible and results that are accurate and reliable.

Can testing be done with more than one type of test?

The type of allergy that is suspected will be what determines what kind of test is going to be done for your child. It is quite often the case that more than one testing method is used. For example if it is either difficult for a doctor to do a skin test on your child or if it is not very conclusive then the doctor may opt for a blood test.

What do the results of the allergy testing actually mean?

The actual meaning of the results from allergy testing will depend on the type of test that is done. For instance if your child undergoes a food challenge test or elimination diet testing this will give a good indication that there is a food allergy and that the child should stay away from that type of food. Skin test similar sensitive than blood tests and both can yield false negatives and false positives.

Whatever allergy testing your child has, it is important that the results are seen as a part of the larger picture of the symptoms that they've been having and their exposure to specific allergens. When all the pieces of the puzzle are put together your doctor will be in a better position to make a specific diagnosis of allergy.

What do we do next?

If it is concluded that your child is suffering from one allergy or more the doctor will recommend a treatment plan for him or her. This treatment plan will vary depending on what type of allergy is present but it could include prescriptions or even over the counter medicines, allergy injections or strict adherence to avoiding allergens, irritants or foods that are causing a reaction.

And finally

There are a lot of different allergy tests for a lot of different allergies. If your child has had symptoms it is wise to contact to the clinic about seeing an Immunologist or having allergy testing.