Last week we introduced the topic of allergies, and gave some basic definitions to start; this week we'll look at how you should handle allergies, and what we can do to help as your pediatrician.
What we (your pediatrician) can do
Diagnose the problem by:
-Asking about your symptoms and medical history
-Doing a physical exam and skin tests
-Ordering laboratory blood tests or x-rays
-Referring you to a doctor who specializes in allergy treatment.
Treatment includes: medications that help open the airways; antihistamines to relive itching, sneezing, and runny nose or decongestants; steroids, which may be sprayed in the nose, inhaled, or given orally; allergy shots, which help to decrease the sensitivity to specific allergens.
What you can do
Pay attention to what causes a reaction, and eliminating it or avoiding contact.
Breastfeeding for as long as you can helps to prevent many allergies in young infants.
As you introduce foods to your child, do so gradually, one at a time, and watch for signs of allergies.
Keep windows closed, especially when it is windy and pollen counts are high.
Keep the house dry to reduce molds and free of dust.
Keeps pets and plants that trigger allergies outside.
DO NOT permit smoking in your home or car, or near your child.
Keep air conditioning filters clean.
Determine if soap, laundry detergent, shampoo, etc. has ingredients that cause a reaction and avoid them.
Wear gloves when handling any items that cause skin irritation and replace suspect household cleansers with something else.
Consult your physician before taking any over-the-counter medications, especially if you are also on prescription medicines.
Seek immediate medical attention: If you suspect a severe allergic reaction! Symptoms include: difficulty breathing, swelling in the head or neck, or lips turning blue.
When in doubt, call either office and we will advise you!