Child Wellness: Diagnosing allergies
If your child has symptoms of a cold, are you sure they are not allergies? Health Reporter Marcie Fraser has more on how to determine the difference between the two.
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Ear infections, colds or are they allergies? Knowing which your child suffers from will make a difference in treatment.
"Untreated allergies can sometimes turn into a sinus infection or middle ear fluid in young children and lead to other complications and it is not a trivial thing and makes a lot of people miserable," said Dr. Teresa Copeland, an allergist.
When treating a child for a cough and or congestion, ruling out allergies can avoid using too many antibiotics, seeing too many doctors and even undergoing unnecessary surgeries.
"With year end allergies or seasonal allergies that can also impact on a child in terms of sinus infections, days lost from school, ear infections, needing to tubes in the ears, tonsils out, so you want to catch that before it got so bad that the child needed surgical intervention," said Dr. Copeland.
While you wouldn't test an infant, kids showing symptoms of allergies can be tested as early as age three and the testing is done with a simple prick test.
"The prick testing is not painful. In our office we do on the back. It takes a few minutes to do read while the parent are in the office. They know before they leave the office if they are allergic to dust mites, cat, dog, trees, grasses or weeds or molds," said Dr. Copeland.
When it comes to medication and children, it is similar to adults but with modifications.
"The doses would be different if we are using the same type of antihistamine, some of the nose sprays are indicated for children above the age of two," said Dr. Copeland.
For children who do have allergies, keep an eye out for asthma.
"Some where between 70 to 80 percent of patients with asthma have an allergic component if they are younger group of asthmatics and the flip side to that is, 25 to 30 percent of patients who start out with with allergic rhinitis may progress to asthma during their life," said Dr. Copeland.