Using the information in this discussion, you can follow these five general steps in evaluating and treating your child’s allergies.
1. Decide if your child really has allergies and if so, whether or not they are interfering with his life enough to warrant evaluation and treatment.
2. Identify what the probable allergens are that may be causing the allergies.
3. Using the above prevention guidelines, take some simple, convenient measures to try to eliminate the possible allergens (such as allergy- proofing the bedroom, eliminate suspected foods, buy an air filter). Observe your child for two weeks to watch for improvement.
4. If no improvement within two weeks, try some additional preventative measures as discussed above. Begin doing nasal washes twice a day. Before you try any of the more drastic preventative measures, we suggest you talk to your pediatrician about blood RAST testing or see an allergist for skin testing to help you identify specific allergens.
5. It is best not to use any allergy medication during this time because if your child’s symptoms improve, you won’t know it this is due to medications or your preventative measures. However, if your child is experiencing moderate to severe symptoms that are dramatically interfering with his life, you can give him an antihistamine for some relief.
6. If you still don’t see any improvement after several more weeks, you have two choices:
- Get the blood tests done or consult with an allergist for skin testing.
- Try just treating the symptoms with your pediatrician’s help for 1 to 3 months, then come off the medication. The allergies may not come back.
If the symptoms do come back, or they persist despite medication, then consult an allergist if you have not yet done so for skin testing or try the blood tests with your pediatrician.