An allergy is a reaction of the immune system to a particular allergen. The immune system responds to the occupying allergen by releasing histamines, which usually trigger symptoms in the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, eyes, skin, or stomach lining. Allergies can also prompt symptoms of asthma, causing wheezing or difficulty breathing


The most common symptoms experienced by children are sneezing, itchy nose, runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy throat, red-itchy eyes, dark circles around the eyes and in some cases, frequent nosebleeds.

The most common allergens include: dust, pollen, fungi, pet/animal dander, clothing, fuzzy toys, latex, certain bacterial enzymes and certain types of foods.

Allergy Testing for Children

If a child is suspected to have seasonal allergies parents should ask themselves the following questions. If the responses to these questions are "yes" further testing should be considered.

  • Do the symptoms seem to take place at certain times of the year?
  • Are symptoms such as fever and pain lacking?
  • Do the symptoms consist of watery, itchy eyes, and runny nose?
  • Do the symptoms worsen with extended time spent outdoors?
  • Is there a history of allergies in the family?

Allergy testing can consist of a skin or blood test. Typically, allergy tests are given by an allergy specialist. These specialists are skilled in the best techniques for testing and treating allergies. There are two types of skin tests. During the skin test, a sample of an assumed allergen is scratched on the outside of the skin, usually on the child's back or forearm. Many other allergens are tested at the same time. If there is an allergy to one of the tests, redness and swelling will occur at the test spot.


Children who suffer from seasonal allergies may accomplish relief without taking medications by avoiding the allergen(s). Frequent dusting, vacuuming, changing the air filters, keeping indoor pets out of bedrooms, frequently washing bed sheets and pillows may help to reduce the amount of allergens within the household.

Medications such as antihistamines, steroidal nasal sprays, allergy nasal sprays, decongestants and allergy shots may help children that suffer from allergies.

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