Taking Baby to Allergist Tips
Taking baby to the allergist is one of those situations where a new mother may not know what to expect. If you’ve never been to an allergist yourself, wondering what the allergist will do makes it even harder to go. Mothers may have horrid visions of an allergist turning their baby into a human pin cushion and fits of whining.
And while the skin prick tests used by allergists are fairly accurate, there are alternatives. But the alternative to not seeing an allergist at all is very serious. A baby with an allergy can encounter numerous household and food allergies that cause them to suffer needlessly. Let’s look at some tips for taking baby to the allergist below.
1. Research Common Baby Allergies
Before taking baby to see the allergist, you should try to prime yourself on what allergies your baby may have. This makes it a lot easier to relate with the doctor when he says that your baby has an intolerance as opposed to an allergy. There are different types of allergies that are not recognized as true food allergies.
Are allergies deadly?
The only allergies that will cause serious risks to your baby’s life are allergies. An allergy can cause a condition called anaphylactic shock. When a baby suffers from anaphylactic shock, its blood pressure can drop dangerously low and its throat can swell shut in a matter of minutes. This condition requires emergency life-saving care.
Many babies are developing allergies to milk proteins, soy, wheat, shellfish, eggs, and nuts. They may also have pet allergies or allergic reactions to dust. In some cases, the differences between IgG, IgA, and IgE reactions can be subtle. Therefore, the need for a professional opinion and testing is of paramount importance.
Educating yourself on allergies helps moms to understand their doctors when taking baby to the allergist. The more resources that you read to familiarize yourself with the subject, the easier it will be to provide the proper care.
Do baby allergies change?
You should also be aware that the severity of allergy symptoms can change at any time. One day, your baby may be able to tolerate a certain food. The very next day, they may suddenly swell up and require emergency care. Taking baby to the allergist can help you to avoid a trip to the emergency room if you catch the symptoms early enough.
2. Write Down the Symptoms
Once you have educated yourself about food allergies and other household allergy problems, you will be able to spot the symptoms. If your baby is having severe diarrhea or extreme gas after drinking milk products or formula that contains soy, for example, you would make a note of this observation.
How much food does your baby eat?
There are many allergies that are based on the quantity of food that your baby eats. These can be trickier to notice. If you think that your baby has a serious allergy and see that baby’s face is swollen from eating any foods, you should look in their throat for signs of swelling and listen for signs of wheezing or difficulty breathing.
What are common baby allergy symptoms?
Other food allergy and intolerance symptoms may include stomach cramps, muscular cramps, and trouble swallowing. If your baby is experiencing any problems after feedings, they may be related to food allergies or intolerances. In some cases, your baby may simply require a different type of formula or more serious intervention.
Taking baby to the allergist with your own observations in hand will make it easier for the allergist to make an accurate diagnosis. Pinpointing the exact allergies that your baby may have is a tedious process of narrowing down the choices with tests and food challenges.
3. Eliminate Certain Foods
A food challenge is one of the best ways to diagnose an allergy. If you take the offending food out of your baby’s diet and notice that they are not suffering symptoms any longer, this is a strong sign that the allergen is somewhere in the other product. It doesn’t have to be a main ingredient because even traces of certain foods can cause allergic reactions.
There are other types of allergic reactions as well. You baby may be allergic to medications or insect bites. It is always good to note common visual symptoms of allergies such as the following:
- Irritated and inflamed nasal passages
- Cold-like symptoms
- Eczema and other rashes
Taking baby to the allergist usually requires patients to make an appointment in advance. Once you make an appointment, you can show up with your baby and any normal items that you travel with, such as a diaper bag, bottle, and baby carrier or stroller.
4. Don’t bring certain snacks
Avoid bringing any snacks that contain common allergens, such as peanuts. Peanut allergies are among the most serious and can cause a deadly reaction if patients in the waiting room simply breathe in particles. Most waiting rooms will even have a sign that warns against peanut products.
5. Consider a blood test
Once your baby is seen by the doctor, you can help them to figure out what is wrong by describing the symptoms and handing them your notes of observations. The allergist may recommend a wide-spectrum blood test that checks for key antigens that are associated with food sensitivities or a skin test.
The skin-prick test is very accurate. If your baby tests negative for this test, it is almost certain that they don’t have a deadly IgE allergy. If they test positive, it is possible to have a false positive to a food that is not attacked by the body because the particles are too small in the bloodstream. However, when a small particle is placed under the skin, the immune system may respond with histamine release.
And even if your baby tests positive to one substance using the skin test, they may only be allergic to other substances in the same family, not necessarily that specific food. The skin-prick test uses a control of histamine and saline solution. The allergist will use special pins with microscopic amounts of each allergen or substance to prick the skin.
Will this hurt my baby?
This does not hurt your baby because the pins are so small and gentle. If the skin is reacting normally, it will swell up and develop a small bump at the spot where the histamine pin was pricked. It should not swell at the area where the saline was injected unless the skin is hypersensitive. In that case, it is impossible to get accurate results with the skin-prick test.
The allergist will then put a grid on your baby’s back to designate the type of allergen used. If the allergist comes back about a half-hour later and sees a small bump where a possible allergen was injected, this would be a strong confirmation of the allergy.
6. Be open to treatments
Taking baby to the allergist can be stressful because you don’t want to worry about dietary complications. Although they are becoming more common, this is a huge burden for moms who have to worry every time that they send their kids to school or to eat over a friend’s house. But all hope is not lost. Taking baby to the allergist opens up a whole host of treatment plans.
One of the latest treatments is exposure therapy. The allergist may expose your baby to microdoses of the substance that is causing an allergic reaction. This way, they will start to build up a tolerance and reduce their sensitivity over time. But they have to keep taking small doses of the food allergen daily in their diet.
Another method of dealing with allergies are shots. Shots are particularly effective for household pet allergies. The same concept is at work to expose the body the allergens in just the right frequency to build up a tolerance without the immune system overreacting. Taking baby to the allergist is the only way to get these shots or special pills that are formulated for exposure therapy.
In many cases, the allergist will tell you to simply avoid feeding your baby certain foods. While they may always have the option of exposure therapy, this may be the easiest method for instant relief if the foods are easily avoidable or the type of allergy is a less serious IgG or IgA allergy (also known as a food intolerance).
What about skin rashes?
Taking baby to the allergist for skin rashes can be a little more complicated. If your baby is breaking out in hives or eczema, it can be from either food or clothing. It can also be from the laundry detergent used to wash the clothing or fabric softener sheets.
In some cases, a baby can be allergic to her mother for inexplicable reasons. It could be mommy’s makeup, perfume, a wool jacket, or something else. Using products that are free of perfumes, dyes, and allergens can help you to figure out what is causing skin irritation and outbreaks. You may be able to figure these types of allergies out without taking baby to the allergist by trial and error experiments.
Although food allergies can be deadly, most allergens cause discomfort and can be easily treated or avoided. Food allergies that cause anaphylactic shock are still quite rare. Although these allergies are becoming more common, you are most likely dealing with a food intolerance or a sensitivity. But with these tips in mind, taking baby to the allergist can help you solve the problem quickly by being one step ahead in the process.