Finding out what allergens trigger your child's bodily defenses are an important first step in effective allergy treatment. Tests conducted by Children's of Mississippi allergists can help pinpoint allergies to pollen, molds, dust mites, animal dander, insect stings, foods and some medicines.
- Allergy testing
- Skin tests
A small amount of a suspected allergen is scratched, or “pricked,” on the skin surface, usually the back or a forearm. Sometimes the allergen may be injected into the skin on the arm. If you have an allergy, slight swelling or redness will occur. Skin tests must be performed in a doctor’s office to minimize risks of severe reactions.
- Blood tests
Allergy blood tests may be an option for patients when skin tests might be unsafe or won’t work, such as if certain medications are prescribed; if there is a skin condition (eczema or psoriasis) that may interfere with skin testing; or if the patient is a baby or very young child unable to tolerate numerous skin pricks.
- Patch tests
The patch test usually is performed to see if there is a delayed reaction to an allergen, usually a food. A small amount of the food is placed in an aluminum chamber in contact with the skin for 48 hours. Areas of the skin in contact with the food that have become inflamed indicate a delayed reaction to the food.
- Eczema evaluation and skin care
Eczema is an inflammation of the skin that can have a variety of causes. Symptoms can vary, but generally, all types of eczema have some symptoms in common: skin itching, redness and tiny bumps or blisters.
- Insect sting allergy evaluation and treatment
For most children, the reaction to an insect sting or bite is short-lived, with redness and swelling followed by pain and itching. For others, however, allergic reactions can be life-threatening and should be treated as a medical emergency.
- Drug allergy evaluation and treatment, including desensitization if indicated.
- Urticaria and angioedema evaluation and treatment
Urticaria, or hives, is a condition in which red, itchy, and swollen areas appear on the skin usually as an allergic reaction from eating certain foods or taking certain medications. Angioedema is an allergic reaction that causes swelling deeper in the layers of the skin. It most commonly occurs on the hands, feet and face (lips and eyes).