You may know a child who struggles with an allergy. It could be your own. You’ve seen the symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Trouble breathing
- Reaction to a particular food
Fifty-million Americans have allergies and 22 percent of the population is affected throughout the rest of the world. While many patients have allergy symptoms, only a small number are tested to see what causes them. And yet, the potential for allergies to progress to asthma has been well documented.
In just 14 years, cases of asthma have increased 160 percent in U.S. children aged 0 to 4 years1. Children are particularly at risk since those who experience inflammation of the inner ear (otitis media) or various forms of eczema (atopic dermatitis) may eventually be diagnosed with allergies that could lead to asthma.
Often, allergies are inherited; the chances of a child having allergies increases when one or both parents have allergies. Children suspected of allergies should be assessed with a physical exam, clinical history, and various tests. The testing could include a specific IgE (a specific antibody) test to determine the cause of the allergy. It is recommended that children under the age of two be tested for specific antibodies to common food allergens initially, and then tested for inhalant allergies when they get older.
Also, as an adult, you may be one of the millions who suffer from allergies. Among the most common types are pollen, dust mites, pets, mold, and food—all of which you can have reactions to for the first time as an adult, often causing fatigue, sleep disturbances, and mental fogginess. Accurate diagnosis is critical to improve your health.