Allergies Specialist

Seashore Pediatrics

Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine located in Wall Township, NJ

Allergies are one of the most common health problems that develop in children. Allergy symptoms often mimic a cold, but you can get to the source of your child’s symptoms with an exam by Catherine Meli, MD, and Naheed Rahmet, MD, at Seashore Pediatrics. They have years of experience identifying allergies and developing customized treatment that gives your child relief. If your child has persistent nasal congestion or itchy eyes, call the office in Wall Township, New Jersey, or book an appointment online.

Allergies Q & A

What are the most common allergens?

Allergies develop when your child’s immune system overreacts to substances that are normally harmless. The things that cause your child’s allergy, called allergens, can come from many different sources, including:

  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Pet dander
  • Dust mites
  • Insect stings or bites
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Air pollution
  • Chemical fumes
  • Foods

The most common childhood allergy is allergic rhinitis. When it’s triggered by seasonal allergens like pollen from trees and grass, it’s called hay fever. If your child has allergic rhinitis year-round, it’s usually caused by dust mites, pet dander, and mold.

What do you need to know about food allergies?

Food allergies are common, affecting one out of every 13 children. Although children can develop allergies to any food, eight categories are responsible for 90% of all allergies:

  • Peanuts
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Tree nuts
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Shellfish
  • Fish (more common in adults)

The only current treatment for a food allergy is eliminating the food from your child’s diet.

What symptoms develop during an allergy attack?

In children, allergies sometimes resemble a cold because they cause nasal congestion. They can also lead to ear infections.

Common allergy symptoms also include:

  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Itchy nose and eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Skin rashes or hives
  • Red, swollen area at the site of an insect sting
  • Stomach ache, cramps, nausea, diarrhea (food allergies)

Some allergies can cause a fast and life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.

What is anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can quickly lead to loss of consciousness, shock, and death. It’s always an emergency that requires an immediate injection of epinephrine.

Anaphylactic reactions are most commonly caused by allergies to foods, insects, and medications, especially antibiotics and anti-seizure medicines.

One of the first signs is difficulty breathing, but your child will also develop one or more of these symptoms:

  • Skin: hives, swelling, itching
  • Mouth and throat: swelling, itching, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness
  • Chest: shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain or tightness
  • Heart: weak pulse, loss of consciousness
  • Gut: pain, diarrhea, vomiting
  • Neurologic: dizziness, fainting

If your child has signs of anaphylaxis, inject epinephrine if you have it on hand, and immediately call 9-1-1.

How are allergies diagnosed and treated?

The team at Seashore Pediatrics typically uses a skin prick test or, in some cases, a blood test to determine your child’s allergens. Treatment depends on the type and severity of the allergy. It may include avoiding triggers, environmental changes, antihistamines, and immunotherapy.

As soon as you suspect your child has allergies, call Seashore Pediatrics or book an appointment online for a full evaluation.