Allergies are a common problem among people. However, children experience them more than adults. While many children grow out of their allergies, they don’t have to suffer in the meantime. At Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic, serving Portland, OR, Clackamas, OR, Gresham, OR and the nearby region, our pediatric allergists help relieve a child’s symptoms while teaching parents ways to manage the allergy.
What are allergies?
Allergies are the body’s hyper response to normally innocuous substances. When a person’s body comes in contact with that substance- either by inhalation, consumption, or physical contact, his or her immune system responds by producing excess IgE antibodies. As a result, the person’s body reacts by exhibiting different symptoms based on how he or she came in contact with the substance. For instance, a person with an allergy to something he or she inhaled may have symptoms like the following:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Itchy nose
- Itchy, watery, or red eyes
- Itchy roof of his or her mouth
Children who have a reaction to a food may experience nausea, vomiting, hives, breathing difficulty, or throat swelling.
People who have allergic dermatitis tend to break out in a rash. Sometimes, the person’s skin becomes dry.
How common are allergies in children?
Of U.S. school-aged children, between 40 to 50 percent have an allergy to at least one substance – whether that be a food, medication, or environmental trigger. Moreover, approximately 7.9 million children had a respiratory allergy in the last year, as of 2012.
The prevalence of food allergies has increased in children. From 1997 until 2002, the number of children who had a peanut allergy, in particular, one that could be deadly, doubled.
Children experience allergies more than adults. Often times, a child may grow out of an allergy. Statistics show about six to eight percent of children have a food allergy, but only around four percent of adults have one.
How does a pediatric allergist diagnose allergies?
Generally speaking, our allergy specialists begin the process by inquiring about your child’s medical history. We also ask about any obvious allergies your child has. Our physician will also inquire about any symptoms your child experiences.
Most often, we use a skin-prick test to detect allergies in a child. During this particular form of testing, our physician exposes your child’s skin to several different allergens. Our physician evaluates your child’s skin for a reaction after a short period of time. Based on these results, we can determine the likelihood your child has to being allergic to these substances.
We may use a blood test to compliment the results of a skin-prick test. We fully understand that children aren’t fond of needles, so we will only request this form of testing if absolutely necessary. However, if we have to conduct it, the process is rather simple. We will send your child to a laboratory of choice to draw blood and analyze it for IgE antibodies.
How does a pediatric allergist treat allergies?
First and foremost, if your child is deemed at risk for having a potentially life-threatening reaction, we will make sure he or she is equipped with injectable epinephrine medication, that contains the hormone, epinephrine.
Additionally, our clinic provides immunotherapy as well. The type of immunotherapy greatly depends on your child’s specific needs and goals. For example, if your child has a food allergy, we may slowly introduce the food into his or her diet by gradually increasing the amount of food he or she can tolerate over time. This is known as oral immunotherapy. We will provide a comprehensive treatment plan if appropriate during your child’s first visit to our clinic, and assist you in deciding what to pursue, if applicable.
Schedule an appointment with Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic, serving Portland, OR, Clackamas, OR, Gresham, OR and the surrounding area, by calling:
Clackamas – (971) 220-2201
Directions to Allergy Clinic in Clackamas, OR: 8740 SE Sunnybrook Blvd, Suite 300, 3rd Floor (24 Hour Fitness Building) Clackamas, Oregon 97015.
Gresham – (971) 205-1010
Directions to Allergy Clinic in Gresham, OR: 831 NW Council Dr, Suite 203, Gresham, Oregon 97030.