Childhood Allergies - Frequently Asked Questions

Dr. Simi Paknikar
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Simi Paknikar, MD
Last Updated on Oct 19, 2016
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which specialist should I contact if my child has allergic reactions to certain foodstuffs?

You should contact an allergy specialist.

2. How can one distinguish symptoms of common cold from allergy?

Both allergic rhinitis and common cold may cause runny nose, sneezing, and nasal stuffiness. However, it may be possible to distinguish between the two conditions by the following:
  • Common cold is accompanied by fever more often than not
  • Sneezing is more pronounced in allergy
  • Common cold symptoms usually last for around a week, but allergy may persist as long as one is exposed to the allergen
  • Colds occur more commonly during winter; allergy is more likely to occur from spring through fall

3. Can relocating to a new place cure my allergic rhinitis and asthma?

Unlikely. You may develop allergy to plant pollens or other allergens in the new place too.

4. Is immunotherapy a cure for allergy?

There is no cure for allergy, but medicines can control the symptoms. Immunotherapy (allergy shots) does not provide a cure, but can offer relief from symptoms for a prolonged period.

5. What are the foods commonly associated with allergic reactions?

Any food can potentially cause allergic reactions. However, most allergic reactions may be caused by one or more of the following foods - milk, peanuts, soy, wheat, eggs, tree nuts, fish and shellfish.

6. What is food intolerance? Is it the same as food allergy?

Food intolerance occurs because the body is unable to digest certain foods eg lactose in milk. Symptoms usually include vomiting and diarrhea, and are not life threatening. Food intolerance is not immune mediated and is different from food allergy.

7. What are the features of food allergy?

Symptoms can be variable and involve any system, not just the gut. Skin and respiratory symptoms can also occur. Occasionally, even life threatening symptoms can occur with a steep fall in blood pressure and severe breathing difficulties.

8. Do food allergies last lifelong?

Some allergies such as peanut allergy, fish and shellfish allergy occur lifelong. Other allergies such as milk, soy protein, egg and wheat allergy may be outgrown over time.

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