Ever wonder if your child is allergic? This past weekend, an intrigued second grader was asking me about my son's allergies. I told him that he was allergic to all nuts and sesame. He was curious about our medication bag and I opened it up to show him that we carry our 2 Auvi Qs (like an EpiPen), Allegra, and some other meds like ibuprofen and bandages.
After thinking about it for a while he stated, "I don't know if I have allergies because I have never been tested for them." Probably more than he bargained for on a play date with my kids, but I explained to him who needs to get tested and how you can tell if you are someone who is allergic.
Allergies commonly can be confused with colds, especially in the winter time. A common finding of allergies is itching. Does your child state that their nose or eyes feel itchy? Another way to assess if it is itchy to them is if they constantly rub their nose or eyes. They may not understand or be able to verbalize it is itchy, but constant rubbing or scratching may be an indicator of allergies. Other things to look out for include congestion, runny nose, red eyes or even headaches. Fevers, aches, or chills would not be seen with allergies. This is more likely to be a virus. If you think your child has these symptoms well after a cold should have resolved, it may be of benefit to see an allergist.
In relation to food, having a reaction to the actual food is key in the history. Testing for foods if you have never had a reaction is not indicated. In general, symptoms that we are looking out for include hives, swelling (of the lips, tongue, face), difficulty breathing, throwing up repetitively, or feeling extremely sick after eating a certain food. Testing does not work for sensitivities or intolerances and there is no testing that exists currently to evaluate those.
Luckily for that 2nd grade buddy of mine, he is good on the allergy front. If you or your child are exhibiting signs like I discussed, an appointment with an allergist might be a good next step!