If your child has a runny nose, swollen eyes, or a rash that seems to never go away, it may be more than a cold. If you notice that he or she exhibits these same symptoms at a certain time of the year, after being outside, or after eating specific foods, it is probably allergies. While you could give the kid antihistamines to reduce or get rid of the symptoms, it is better to know what the allergies are and to avoid them as much as possible. Talk to your doctor about allergy testing. Here are the common techniques used.
Skin Prick Test
This method has been used for years with very good results. Unfortunately, it is not the most comfortable method. Your child will be pricked with needles containing a very small amount of the common allergy substances. This will include pollen, dust, dander, and different foods. There will also be a couple of pricks done with "test" products. These are done to show that the skin is reacting normally; that anything your child is allergic to will give a reaction. After 15 to 20 minutes, there will be a small bump or rash where an allergen has been administered.
A patch test is very similar to a skin prick test but does not require any needles. Small patches, coated with the various possible allergens, are stuck to your child's skin. However, because the substances are not put under the skin or into the blood, it takes longer for any reaction to appear. This test is most commonly done for allergens that cause a rash, such as latex, perfumes, metals, and dyes.
It is also possible to have blood drawn and tested for allergies. This type of allergy testing can test for the same things as both the skin prick and patch tests. It is one simple needle prick to draw the blood. You should have results from the test in a few days.
Once you have the results of the allergy testing, you can discuss the best ways to avoid having flare-ups. While there is always some type of medicine you can give your child when he or she does have symptoms, it is also possible to make some lifestyle changes. Depending on what the allergen is, you may need to dust, sweep, and clean more frequently; change cleaning products; or keep your child inside when the pollen count is high. While most allergies are nothing more than a nuisance, they do make people uncomfortable. Get your child tested and then follow your doctor's directions for keeping the symptoms away. Contact a clinic like Premier Surgical Associates to learn more.