If you think there are way more allergic kids in the world than there were when you were growing up, you’re be right. According to the Center For Disease Control (CDC) there was a 50-percent increase in incidences of allergies between 1997 and 2011. Of course people developing strong adverse reactions to JNCO jeans, chain wallets and Pauly Shore can only account for, like 10 percent of that increase.
Why are allergies increasing? Honestly, it’s a mystery right now, just like the fact that Pauly Shore had a career at all. But given the increase in allergies, it would be prudent for you to know when and how you can test your baby for allergies.
Why You Might Test Your Baby
You can test you kid within the first couple months, but you may want to hang tight. If you don’t have a family history of allergies and your kid seems to be otherwise typical, testing may not be necessary. But just to be safe, you’ll want to be cautious as you introduce solid foods that contain common allergens like tree nuts or shellfish (though you probably shouldn’t let your kid nom a lobster tail anyway.) You know, maybe don’t give them their first taste of peanut butter when you’re in the wilderness. Just in case.
However, if you do have a history of allergies, you want to be extra observant and discuss things with your pediatrician. That’s doubly true if you notice your critter happens to have skin issues like eczema or trouble breathing. And make sure you bring these concerns to your doctor personally, rather than over email or text, because you will never spell eczema correctly.
What Your Pediatrician Does
Your pediatrician will ask for a detailed list of what you’ve been giving your kid (hopefully not oysters Rockefeller on a bed of Spanish peanuts). If you’re breast-feeding they’ll ask for what you’re partner has been eating as well. They’ll do a full physical exam on your kid to rule out anything could be an obvious source or the condition. If they can’t pin it down they’ll refer you to an allergist who has way more diagnostic tools at their disposal. Though why they keep disposing those tools is anyone’s guess. Seems pricey and unnecessary.
What The Allergist Will Do
An allergy specialist will take one of several diagnostic paths. It probably won’t be fun for anyone, but at least you’ll have peace of mind.
Prick Skin Test (PST)
This isn’t related to an awful dude administering the test and has nothing to do with your baby’s penis (if they have one), so rest easy about that. It is a skin test in which drops of certain allergens are applied to a grid drawn on your kids skin. A tiny needle is then used to puncture the skin through the droplet. A reaction is usually seen within 15 minutes. Kinda like when you tell James Franco a joke when he’s super high.
This test is phenomenal at ruling out stuff your kid isn’t allergic to. However, the patches that produce a positive result have a 50 percent chance of being false positives, but don’t tell your baby that because, at this point, it will just piss them off.
Your allergist could start with a blood test, which is great at catching allergies related to foods like peanuts, eggs and fish. But it’s likely that they will use the blood test as a follow up to a skin test to confirm positive results.
Food Elimination Challenge
Considering your baby isn’t really eating much variety in their first year, this can be pretty simple. It requires eating very measured amounts of a certain allergen until a reaction is seen or is ruled out. These challenges should happen in very controlled circumstances. Again, not the wilderness.
Of course, all of this is out the window should your baby have a sudden allergic reaction. If you see your child is having severe skin redness or trouble breathing, your first step should be to find emergency equipment immediately. Don’t even stop to look for your chain wallet. It should be right there, at the end of the chain.