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    Your Child’s Allergies: When to See a Pediatrician

    Sometimes, kids' allergy symptoms are mild enough to handle at home. But when they become serious or frequent, it’s time to see a pediatrician.

    See the doctor if your child has:

    Hay fever symptoms that last for more than a week or two, or happen around the same time each year. The common red flags are a runny nose, congestion, sneezing, and itchy nose and eyes.

    Asthma symptoms , especially if they're worse after exercise or at night. The warning signs include shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing, or coughing.

    Eczema symptoms , including a very itchy red rash that usually starts in babies, scratching a lot, and thicken, scaly patches on the skin.

    Allergy symptoms after eating a specific food. These could be skin rashes and swelling, wheezing, an upset stomach, paleness, and lightheadedness.

    Allergies that keep your child from enjoying playtime or getting a good night’s sleep.

    In many cases, your child’s pediatrician can diagnose and treat allergies. The doctor may offer:

    • Medicines to treat the symptoms
    • Advice on how to avoid your child’s allergy triggers

    You may need to make changes in your home or change your child’s diet.

    Your pediatrician may also refer you to an allergy specialist. An allergist may do a skin test to find out what your child is allergic to. The doctor places a tiny amount of the allergen on your child's skin -- usually on her back or forearm -- and then pricks the skin underneath. It's safe and fairly painless.

    If nothing happens, your child isn't allergic to that trigger. If she gets a small raised bump that itches like a mosquito bite, she is.

    If your child has food allergy symptoms, the doctor may suggest not eating certain foods for several days to see if the symptoms go away.

    He may also suggest shots or oral tablets to gradually make your child less sensitive to allergy triggers.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on October 21, 2014

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