Thursday, November 1, 2012

Diagnosis and Treatment of Seasonal Allergies

If your child starts sniffling and sneezing and has a runny nose, it can often be difficult for parents to determine whether they have a cold or if the symptoms have been triggered off by a sensitivity to some allergen. After all, there is almost no difference between the signs of these two conditions.

The Difference Between Allergy vs. Cold Symptoms

There is one very significant difference that distinguishes allergies from colds and that is allergy symptoms do not just occur any time of the year. They appear only at fixed times during the year and it is usually the same time every year.

If you are wondering then why different kids exhibit these symptoms at different times during the year the answer lies in the fact that different individuals are affected by different triggers. The timing and duration depends upon what particular allergen that person is sensitive to.

How Are Allergies Diagnosed?

While the above is a pretty accurate way of establishing whether your kid is suffering from a common cold or a seasonal allergy, it is still important to go to a medical practitioner and get a proper diagnosis before administering any medication. An experienced doctor will be able to make a diagnosis based on the answers that you give to certain questions about the type, intensity and duration of the symptoms. To confirm the diagnoses, you may be asked to go to an allergist to get some skin or blood allergy tests done.

An allergist will usually determine the cause by doing a skin test. There are two ways that this can be done:

1. A drop of purified liquid form of the allergen is put on to the skin, after which, a small pricking device is used to pick that area. 
2. A tiny amount of the allergen is injected just below the skin and checked after about fifteen minutes. The test is considered positive if a lump develops at the area and it is surrounded by a reddish coloration.

Treatment of Seasonal Allergies

While no cure has still been found for seasonal allergies, the good news it is there are several things that can be done to alleviate the symptoms. The best thing is of course to eliminate or at least reduce exposure to allergens. This can be done by remaining indoors during those days when pollen is at its peak, keeping the windows closed during high pollen days and using an air purifier if that is practical.