4 Questions to Asked Your Pediatric Food Allergist
Food allergies are more common in children than adults. At Piniella Asthma + Allergy, our experienced and board-certified pediatric food allergist provides help in improving the quality of life for infants, children, and adolescents with food allergies. We have convenient locations to serve you in Coral Gables, FL and Palmetto Bay, FL. We are here to help you get better today! For more information, Contact us or schedule an appointment online!
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A pediatric food allergist is a physician that specializes in allergies in children. As a provider, they have likely completed their residency in either internal medicine or pediatrics, and have studied an additional few years in allergy and immunology. A pediatric food allergist may work in various care settings and commonly sees patients at their own practice or within a larger clinic.
Food allergies are common in young children. Current data estimates that up to six percent of children have food allergies. You may have heard about the “big five”, or the five most common food allergies in toddlers and young children, which are: peanuts (and other tree nuts, such as almonds or cashews), cow’s milk, eggs, soy, and wheat. Fish and other shellfish are also common sources of allergies or allergic reactions.
In order to have your child tested for food allergies, you will need to see an allergist, particularly one that specializes in pediatric allergies. Allergy testing can involve a variety of options and will depend on your child’s unique situation. To start, the allergy specialist will take a detailed account of the symptoms and situation surrounding the suspected allergy or allergic reaction. They may also ask about family history related to allergies, so it’s a good idea to come in with some information about potential allergies or reactions others within the family have experienced.
In terms of physical tests, both blood and skin tests are available to help diagnose an allergy. With a blood test, the allergist will look for the presence of a food-specific IgE antibody, which is the marker that indicates an allergy. A skin prick test is what most people are familiar with when it comes to allergy testing. This is done by putting a small amount of protein extract from the food in question on the skin. The allergist will monitor throughout this process, and if a hive (also known as a wheel) forms on the skin, that may indicate an allergy to the food in question. While these are helpful options in diagnosing an allergy, in some cases, a physical exam, description of symptoms, and family and health history is all that is needed to diagnose a food allergy in your child.
Our team of allergy specialists at Piniella Asthma + Allergy can provide allergy testing for your child in a safe and comfortable environment. Although common, allergies in children can be confusing and distressing, and we have the expertise and diagnostic tools available to determine what your child may be allergic to, and what is needed to proceed.
Although it is common for many children to have food allergies, sometimes it may not be as obvious. In some cases, the child may have a severe reaction to food immediately after consuming or coming in contact with it, and in this case, it’s important that you call 9-1-1 and receive immediate medical attention. Otherwise, a food allergy may appear with a number of different symptoms, including:
• A red skin rash that is itchy
• Bumps on the skin that are red and itchy (known as hives)
• Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach pain
• Nasal congestion, sneezing, a persistently runny nose, or cough
• Wheezing and/or difficulty breathing
• Itching on or around the mouth and nose area
Some of these symptoms may mimic the common cold, flu, or another common condition that children frequently experience. This is why it’s important to see an allergy specialist, in order to rule out whether symptoms may be a result of a food allergy, or something else. We serve patients from Coral Gables FL, Palmetto Bay FL, Westchester FL, Brownsville FL, Kendall FL, Pinecrest FL, Richmond West FL, and Goulds FL.