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& QA EXPERT: Dr. Maria Buheis, pediatric allergy and immunology physician at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, answers some of the most common questions about childhood allergies.

Q:

WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON TYPES OF ALLERGIES THAT AFFECT CHILDREN?

The two broadest categories of childhood allergies are environmental and food allergies. Environmental allergies can include pollen, dust mites, mold and animal dander. Food allergies, which typically appear in young children, often include milk, eggs, soy, wheat, peanuts and fish or shellfish. The allergies that children develop heavily depend on what they are frequently exposed to in their natural surroundings.

Q:

Q:

WHY SHOULD I TAKE MY CHILD TO A PEDIATRIC ALLERGIST AS OPPOSED TO A GENERAL ALLERGY CLINIC?

It’s best to take your child to a pediatric-specific allergy and immunology clinic like at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus. In a pediatric setting, everything from the equipment and facility is designed specifically for children. At our clinic, we only see children, so we are very familiar with what type of reactions to expect from the child, as well as the common allergy test indicators. For younger children, distractions are sometimes needed to get their attention away from the slight pinch of the prick. For these patients, child life specialists are available who can provide toys and interact with the child to help them through what can be a scary time. Since older children like to know what to expect during the allergy test, the child life specialists can help explain the entire process and can play guessing games with them to predict the allergens that will appear.

Q:

WILL MY CHILD GROW OUT OF THEIR ALLERGIES?

The short answer is sometimes. For some food allergies such as milk, eggs and soy, about 60 to 80 percent of children outgrow them by school age. But only about 15 percent of children outgrow peanut allergy. It also works in reverse. Your child can develop an allergy later on in life as a teenager or an adult. For more information, contact the Allergy and Immunology Clinic at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus at 832-227-2280.

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD HAS A FOOD OR ENVIRONMENTAL ALLERGY?

A good allergy evaluation starts by taking a detailed history of your child’s symptoms and performing a physical examination. Then, your allergist will discuss with you if allergy testing is recommended. For seasonal allergies, I typically encourage parents to wait until their child is at least three-years-old before testing, as it will be more accurate if the child has been exposed to a variety of potential allergens through the different pollen seasons. Testing for food allergies and potential indoor allergens can be done at a much younger age, as exposure begins much earlier in life. The allergy test is fairly simple. We introduce a small amount of allergens to the child by slightly “pricking” the surface of their skin. For babies and toddlers, the test is typically performed on their back, where there is more surface. For older children, it is often done on their forearm, because they tend to like to see what is going on and have fun guessing which allergen they will react to. After about 15 minutes, we begin to see swelling around the specific allergens that are causing the problems.

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Allergy and Immunology

The main lobby at Texas Children’s West Campus. Photo by A. Kramer.

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October 2015 - Absolutely Memorial Magazine  

Community magazine absolutely highlighting the people, events, happenings, businesses and town of Memorial Area, Texas.

October 2015 - Absolutely Memorial Magazine  

Community magazine absolutely highlighting the people, events, happenings, businesses and town of Memorial Area, Texas.

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