Pediatric Allergy & Immunology

Does your child have allergies or immune system problems? Your doctor may recommend that your child see a pediatric allergist/immunologist. Our pediatric allergists/immunologists work with young patients and their families to create a specialized treatment plans to help children return to a healthy and active lifestyle.

Does my child need to see an allergist?

Talk to your pediatrician or family provider if you think your child has allergies or an immune system disorder. Your provider may refer your child to a pediatric allergist/immunologist. A pediatric allergist/immunologist helps children who have bad reactions to things that may not affect other people the same way. These allergens can include pet dander, pollen, dust, certain foods like peanuts, insect bites and other triggers. If a child's immune system is not working as it should, he or she may have serious reactions to allergens.

Allergies and immune system conditions

Our doctors are trained to find and treat allergies and immune system problems in children and provide treatment for the following conditions:

  • Asthma
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Allergic reactions to food, medications and insect stings
  • Sinusitis
  • Hay fever
  • Eczema
  • Hypersensitivity disorders

Is my child at risk of having allergies or an immune system issue?

Some allergies are hereditary. Other allergies are caused by environmental factors. Children may be at a higher risk of allergies and immune system issues if they are exposed to any of the following:

  • Dust mites
  • Pets and other animals
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Pesticides

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of allergies may include, but are not limited to:

  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Coughing
  • Itching, watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy throat
  • Swelling
  • Stomachache
  • Itchy skin
  • Hives
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability

Testing for allergies is safe, effective

Pediatric allergists/immunologists use special testing methods to test for allergies and immune conditions. There are new tests that are almost painless. Allergies can be tested for in several ways. Testing is done at the doctor's office, and usually takes less than an hour.

Skin prick tests are safe and check for immediate allergic reactions to up to 40 different substances. Children usually get skin prick tests on their upper back. Skin tests are not painful, and your child will not bleed or feel more than a mild, momentary discomfort.

Skin injection tests are done by injecting a small amount of allergen extract into the skin on the arm. This is usually done to test for allergies to insect venom or penicillin.

Patch tests are done to see if a certain substance is causing the allergic skin reaction. Patch tests find delayed allergic reactions that could take a few days. Patches are taken off at the doctor’s office and the skin is checked for irritation after a few days.

What treatments options are available for my child?

Our priority is to decrease symptoms so children can lead a healthy and active life. Your child may be prescribed allergy medicine to treat allergy symptoms.

Primary care is your first stop for healthcare

Whether you choose a pediatrician for the kids and an internal medicine doc for the adults -- or opt for a family medicine doctor for the entire family -- MaineHealth has the primary care providers to meet everyone's needs.
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