Allergist V/s Pediatritian

Updated on March 04, 2008
Y.S. asks from Chicago, IL
39 answers

Hello moms, my son's pediatrician has prescribed us Nasacort nose spray then Claritin, Benadryl, Singulair, none seem to work for him. I'm wondering if I should take him to an Allergist. Will an allergy doctor really do anything more for him?
I went through all the allergy tests myself, went for allergy shots for a while, but they didn't really help me.
Is it worth putting a 4-1/2 year old through all the testing? Will an allergist to more then the pediatritian?

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all the help. I will take him to an allergist.

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B.P.

answers from Chicago on

HI there...

I have been going to a chiropractor...Dr.Davis(who is GREAT) at The Doctors Inn which is located in Plainfield.Dr.Davis works for Dr.Cohen..who is the owner of the practice-and is now doing allergy treatments. There are no shots, no unpleasant testing,etc.There are no manipulations or anything like that.I don't know if it is for children or not. It is a new type of treatment...I wish I could explain it better, but if you are interested, give them a call. The phone number is ###-###-####. Dr. Cohen told me that he did it himself to "test" it and it worked so he is now offering it to his patients here. I may check it out myself. Good luck..I know allergies are no fun!
B.

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J.W.

answers from Chicago on

Another thing you can try is reading a book recommended to me by the HOMEFIRST docs...
http://www.drrapp.com/publications.htm
This Dr. Rapp has a number of books etc on helping you look at your kid, the enviornment and what may be going on.

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J.S.

answers from Chicago on

Hello again Yvette!

Ok...here's the deal from my experience with pediatrician vs. allergist. My son was born premature and sick, thus he developed severe asthma and is allergic to EVERYTHING in the environment. Of course, we didn't know this at first. About age 4, we noticed he'd come in from outside with red eyes, tired and stuffy. We consulted the ped. of course, who did exactly what yours is doing. They experimented with various products to see what, if any would give him relief. After almost a year of this uncertainty, I was tired of having my child take so many different medications without fully knowing what was wrong with him.
So, off to the allergist. Ours was actually what most are specializing in these days and that's allergy/immunology.
They can do different kinds of tests. They can draw blood and run the sample with various allergens, they can do small injections of an allergen under the skin and watch then in the office for a reaction, or the "scratch test", which really isn't scratches. It is a pad of a dozen or more tiny pins that have a dab of the allergen on the tip. This is then lightly "pricked" onto the skin, either on the forearms or back and then watched. When they react, a mosquito bite like bump will form. This means they are allergic. No reaction, obviously means they are safe from that allergen.
There are environmental allergens and food/medication allergens. The benefit to knowing what your child is allergic to is A) You can try to eliminate that allergen as much as possible from his life, i.e. dust mites...you would not have carpet or drapes in his room. B) Knowing the allergens can help with the type of medication prescribed. Some meds are solely for environmental allergens, others for indoor allergens...some a combination of both.
You also have the option depending on the severity of his allergies, having a course of immunology injections done. They actually help build his immunity to his allergies by dosing him with small amounts of what he's allergic to over a period of time. When he reaches a point where it's not tolerated anymore, they do maintenance. There's a risk of reaction of course, but the patient stays in the docs office for 20-30 min. following the injection as a precaution. Most patients will carry an epipen during this course in the event a severe reaction takes place. This would be to help boost the body's own immune response system for an extra 15-20 minutes until you would arrive at emergency services. This only happened one time in the 3 years my son was treated and it was when he reached his peak. He is now off ALL allergy meds and asthma medication on a daily basis and takes an over the counter allergy med as needed during certain times he flares up. The asthma meds now are on standby. He only uses an inhaler when needed during outdoor activity and his advair, which is an inhaled steroid he was on twice a day for the past 10 years, he only keeps on hand should he develop a chest cold. You mentioned you went through the shots for "a while"...you must finish the reccomended treatment period to get the max results for building the immunity. There is a chance of course you won't see great results, but for us, it was well worth it. Our son didn't start until he was in his teens, so he in Freshman year went 3 times a week for about 10 months...then went down to 1 time every other week, down to once a month until last year. Now he's done and off the meds so I don't have to worry when he leaves for college this fall.
In my opinion, and I know I can ramble, this is a no-brainer. Your pediatrician should be VERY supportive of this decision and work with your allergist on maintenance of this issue, not fight you on it. They are all supposed to be concerned with the well-being of your child, not who's treating him. If they have an issue with it, then I would consider a new pediatrician that doesn't.
We're in the northwest suburbs and used Dr.Vemuri in Crystal Lake. She's very good with kids, personable and worked hand in hand with my pediatrician and still keeps in contact now with his Internist. Her number is ###-###-####. She has several offices...Crystal Lake, Barrington, even up in Wisconsin somewhere just over the border! Good luck!!

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L.A.

answers from Chicago on

Hi, Yvette. I just took my 3 year old son to an allergist. I would highly recommend it. We were there for just under two hours, but I was very satisfied and glad we went. First, the testing was not invasive or bothersome for my son. Second, we left with the results, prescriptions, tons of literature, and two follow up plans depending upon how he does this summer with wheezing. If you want to call me and discuss the visit and my son's background, feel free. My name is L. ###-###-####). (We live on the NW side of Chicago, but I took him to Dr. Kim at Glenbrook Hospital in Glenview. There is a Children's Memorial branch within that hospital).

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B.C.

answers from Chicago on

I would definately take him to the allergist. Especially since he will be starting Kindergarten and you need to know if he has any food allergies as well. An allergist will determine if its truly allergies or not. I can recommend my sons allergist if you need one. She works out of Downers Grove and Naperville.
My email address is [email protected]____.com son has bad environmental allergies and as soon as the weather breaks he will have to go. I hate to gieve him so much medicine but he really needs and and if he doesnt get some congestion relief it usually turns into a viral infection.

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J.A.

answers from Chicago on

Yvette-
I usually recommend to moms in your situation to have your child checked by a pediatric chiropractor (icpa4kids.org). I know in my office we have had kids in very similar situations as your son clear up when their body was well adjusted. I am letting you know this because I have seen the frustrated moms who have gone through the allergy testing with their kids and getting no resolve.
Best of Luck
flowchiropractic.com

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M.W.

answers from Chicago on

I always suggest to people to remove the triggers from your home. Take a look at www.saferforyourhome.com. [I've been a preferred customer for almost 4 years.] Then take a look at the warning labels on the products you use in your home. Oust Sanitizer is one that should not be used in your home for the following reasons stated on the back of the can.

"Before using product throughout your home, use in one room and wait 24 hours to ensure that no one has any physical reactions to the product.
Asthma and Allergy Sufferers:
Consult your physician before using this product in your home."
http://www.walgreens.com/store/product.jsp?CATID=100468&a...

Another source that could be helpful to you is a documentary called Toxic Brew. http://www.rmbarry.com/audio_video/toxic_brew.html

Good luck
M.
###-###-####

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J.G.

answers from Chicago on

I'm surprised your pediatrician hasn't referred you to an allergist. My experience is that pediatricians are not as knowledgeable about allergies since that is not their specialty. Seeing an allergist probably isn't a bad idea. They may prescribe different treatments or tell you to do something that you are not doing already. If not, you are no worse off. We see Dr. Mary Tobin at Rush if you are interested.

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S.G.

answers from Chicago on

My granddaughter has had several bouts with upper respiratory illnesses and pneumonia. Her nutritionist suggested taking her off of all milk products for a month to see if there is an improvement. It couldn't hurt, if none of the medicines are helping your son. Susan G.

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G.H.

answers from Chicago on

If it makes you feel better to call an allergist, do so but remember that the ped. is trained specifically in baby/children medicine. Good luck

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D.S.

answers from Chicago on

Yes, it is worth it! I have two children and they both have different allergies. We have been going for shots for almost a year. WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!!!! It has helped so much. My son has asthma and he has cut back his meds so much. My daughter is more alert and isn't rubbing her nose so much. She has a crease line in her nose as it was always running. Not to mention how uncomfortable they were. But, you have to be consistent with the shots.

D. :-)

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K.B.

answers from Chicago on

Hi, Yvette, I am new to this site, and my first question was regarding asthma and allergies for my son. While I am no expert, it was my experience that an allergist was able to give me answers to what my son was allergic to and then to give me 6 different prescriptions for him. (No kidding, while I was sitting with him in her office, there were drug reps coming in left and right, waiting to see her). If you are not into giving you child a lot of prescriptions, you will find little help at either your ped or the allergist. I DO recommend that you find out what the allergies are and that will help you to help your child, whichever route you take.

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R.M.

answers from Chicago on

Hello Yvette,

In my opinion, an Allergist has more specifics and personal training...since it is a specialty field, with Asthma/Allergies. I have a 4 1/2 year old daughter and 3 year old son. Both of my children have Asthma and Allergies, their Allergist is in Flossmoor and he is really good. I definitely see a difference in my children when I give them the Pulmicort breathing treatments. They are both also on Albuterol, and Singulair. The Albuterol is just a rescue treatment when the asthma is severe, but the daily treatments of Pulmicort helps my son especially...who has it the worst...he gets pneumonia at least 4 times a year. Talk to an Allergist about the Pulmicort inhaled breathing treatment. I hope this helps...Good Luck!

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L.A.

answers from Boca Raton on

Hi
there are few pediatrician with specialization in allergy and clinical immunology,like my son`s pediatrician....
If you live in Naperville & need her contact info ,just let me know....

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J.D.

answers from Decatur on

you don't say what the symptons are that took you to the pediatritian to begin with. I would recommend asking for a referral to a pediatric specialist,one who deals "JUST" with little people who has a better idea of what's what. My grandson sees a specilaist for his asthma. However our family doctor takes care of him in between.Don't hesitate............llittle peoples needs specialists that can call it without even hardly batting an eyelash!!! GOOD luck. mom of 4 and mamaw to one wonderful little man. J.

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M.H.

answers from Springfield on

See an allergist. Just remember this about ALL doctors: find one you like and are comfortable with. All doctors are different. Allergy shots take time, but they DO work in time. I took mine for a full year before I noticed enough difference, but they are soooo worth it in the end. We went through 3 different docs with my son before trying an allergist, and wished we wouldn't have waited so long. We love our current allergist, but were not completely pleased with the first one we tried for a year.

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C.S.

answers from Chicago on

We did the allergy testing for my 3 year-old. It was no big deal-- just the scratch test. Not traumatic in any way.

I don't know what his symptoms are though. Have you considered alternative therapies if all that medication isn't working?

We are doing homeopathy and chinese herbal medicine and some accupressure. They haven't "solved" all of her problems but they have made a HUGE difference.

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G.H.

answers from Chicago on

Hi there, you might want to consider a more hollistic doctor that would find out the source of the allergy instead of prescribing new medication. a hollistic doctor will preform simple tests that don't involve poking and scrapping thr skin and all this stuff they work with the body and involve the child in conversation. They will then figure out what the source of the allergy is and work with you on a remedy. if you are in the chicago area there are some really good doctors here. I personally go to someone in Hoffman Estates and she helped me with my allergies. Her name is Dr Lee ###-###-####

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S.W.

answers from Chicago on

my 7 year old went through the testing when he was 5- its nor harmful to check to see what allergies he has to avoid them.

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J.A.

answers from Chicago on

I took my son to a WONDERFUL allergist at Glenbrook Hospital...Dr. Pollack ###-###-#### He is great with little ones. I myself had severe allergies too but have since kicked the daily Claritin habit with natural remedies and Body Balance. You can see my mom-owned business if you would like more info www.gopillfree.com. I hope this helps.

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R.C.

answers from Chicago on

YES!!! There are actually pediatric allergists that are worth a try. My allergist also treats kids and it is a rapidly growing field. It seems wise just to make sure the pediatrician has not missed anything and also to get medications really suited to your child's particular allergies.

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E.R.

answers from Peoria on

Hello, there is a new allergy test out there that only requires getting blood drawn. It is called Immunocap (i believe that's how it's spelled)and your pediatrician can order this for you. My 8 month old is going to have it done on Thursday of this week. They are able to test for a whole spectrum of allergies this way. There is also an allergy med that has helped my coworkers' kids. I believe it's called Allerstan. Ask your pediatrician about this.

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J.R.

answers from Chicago on

If your insurance allows you to visit an allergist, I say go for it. An Allergist will have a better basis of knowledge regarding allergies, asthma than your ped who has to know a little about a lot of things. I went to an allergist from the time I was 6 till I graduated college. I did allergy shots through college and was also on claritin and zyrtec. I just recently switched to Singulair. My allergist was always trying to put me on a nasal inhaler and while I feel they worked the best, I would get headaches.
I don't think you or the allergist would be putting your son through anything unnecessary.

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D.B.

answers from Chicago on

I have a 12 year old son who has had problems with allergies since he was a toddler. He had been on Zyrtec which didn't help much and then D'Allergy Jr. which worked quite well for a few years, but that finally quit working too. I finally decided to go to an allergist last fall. (Dr. Vemuri at Mercy in Crystal Lake...she's a wonderful doctor!!) We did the scratch test (completely painless...he thought it was cool!) and found out he's allergic to dust mites, cats, ragweed, weeds and trees! She started him on Singulair, but I think the thing that helped him the most was putting dust mite covers on his mattress and pillows. He actually quit taking the Singulair a couple weeks ago and is still doing very well, although I'm sure he'll have to go back on this spring. You can find inexpensive covers at Wal-Mart or Target. It's important to find out what he's allergic to and try to remove that trigger if at all possible. I only wish I had my son tested years ago! Another note, mine started getting repeat ear infections when he was younger and once we had the allergies under control with the D'Allergy Jr. he hasn't had one since!
Good Luck!!

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N.G.

answers from Chicago on

You might want to try and ENT. Our son has been on several allergy medicines, none helping. We took him to the ENT and he has enlarged aednoids, which are being removed in the next week.

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B.G.

answers from Chicago on

I just had my 9 month old allergy tested, I nursed her while they did it on her back and just had them do the most probable 8, she didn't even flinch...no crying at all, it was so simple and now I can at least rule out allergies (for now) as the cause of her persistent cough/fluid issues.

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K.S.

answers from Chicago on

See the allergist.
Your pediatrician seems to be grasping at over the counter symptom alleviators when what you need to do is get the the cause, in this case, allergies.
Shots may not have worked for you, you may have been mis diagnosed or didn't stick with it long enough. Who knows. But yes, the testing is worth it before his allergies turn into a chronic, separate problem like asthma.

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C.M.

answers from Chicago on

When my 15 year old son was your son's age and younger, he was "always sick." He always had bronchitis or upper resp infections etc... he always had something. At 4 years old, I finally took him to an allergist b/c after several months of his pediatrician not being able to help him get rid of his cough let alone diagnose it (other than having allergies). That was one of the best things I could have done for him! He did fine thru the scratch tests - kids are much more resilient than we give them credit for! At that time, his lungs were so unstable that they wouldnt even do the scratch test until he was more stable. His lungs were clear but he had just so much "stuff" in his chest. Anyhow, we both ended up going for shots every week. We both got 3 shots! We went for about 3 years in total and truthfully, I think they worked. I think it would have worked better had we kept going, but the amount of sinus infections and upper resp infections he got after that first year seriously decreased! He knows so much now about what triggers an "attack" (he developed asmtha as well) - but he KNOWS he cannot touch his face after petting a dog or cat... he knows that the fog can make his chest heavy.. he knows that smoking will really do a number on him... he knows that open windows in the spring or fall can do a number on him and he knows which seasons are worse for him and he can take the necessary precautions as needed.

I am really glad I took him to the allergist. He is much better off now and the knowledge he gained and the information he learned about himself and allergies in general will stay with him forever. He's even been able to help other kids when they start having allergy issues!

Thanks,
C.

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J.M.

answers from Chicago on

I just have to say that I took one of my children to the allergist when he was about 2 years old since he has asthma and that is what our pediatrician at the time told us to do. He went through painful testing for this "expert" to tell me that he was having asthma attacks because of our animals. Funny but he was only having asthma attacks in May of each year for two years. So I could not see why it would be my animals when they are with us year round. Anyways, he then told us to get rid of our animals, any carpet in the house, drapes or valances, stuffed animals, puffy couches and blankets and numerous other things. We did not listen to a word he said. We switched pediatricians and he is now completely managed with his allergies/asthma with singulair. My other son just had allergies and it took us a while to find a good combination of meds for him but he is on Zyrtek and Flonase (together) from about April through October and that is working great. I personally would not recommend the allergist but that is just from my experience. Hope you find some good help soon!

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B.Z.

answers from Chicago on

Both of my kids(3 year old and 16 month old) take Zyrtec during the summer months for allergies. If you haven't tried Zyrtec yet asked your ped about doing that before trying the allergist route because the testing is really not fun. I also have allergies and I know Claritin and Singular never worked for my allergies, but I do get relief from Zyrtec which I take year round. If nothing helps you may inquire about finding an allergist who does allergy testing with blood tests instead of the stick tests which are less painful, but not as widely accepted. That might make it a bit easier for you to be comfortable with taking your child to an allergist knowing he won't be poked and made itchy to discover that he has allergies(because you already know that).

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L.M.

answers from Chicago on

I hope you find the culprit causing his distress. Be sure to have the allergist check for food allergies as well, They can manifest themselves as breathing problems, such as a dairy allergy. Especially if he is very mucus-y. Wheat too.

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A.E.

answers from Chicago on

Sounds as though your son is suffering from a case of chronic sinusitis, an allergy, or perhaps has some deformity of his nasal tract. Has he been treated with antibiotics? Remember you don't want antibiotic treatment often for several reasons.
I would allow the allergist to at least evaluate. I'm not quite sure of all of his symptoms suffered, but the list of meds sounds as though he is being treated for sinusitis or hayfever. Cottonwood polinosis is another thing to consider depening on the time of year it is and the climate in which you live. Do you have any mold in your home? Does he consume a lot of cow's milk products?
There could be a numerous amount of allergens around creating a terrible environment for your son that you may be unaware of. I would check it out.

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C.D.

answers from Chicago on

hi there,

If you have tried all of those meds and not getting the results you want, I would try removing dairy products for a couple of weeks and see if anything changes. You might also want to remove gluten from the diet as well. Some people's bodies react strongly to those two offenders, producing a lot of mucus and causing allergy symptoms.

C.

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A.B.

answers from Chicago on

My son has several food and environmental allergies. I have found that the allergist is much more knowledgeable in this aspect then his pediatrician is. The pediatrician also informed me that she was glad that I already have him with an allergist because she was not as informed in this area. The allergist has helped us out tremendously with all of my sons allergy issues. He has been put through the scratch test and blood test two times now (once at 18 mo and once at 3 yo) and has done great both times. We go to Dr. Ozog in Naperville if you have any questions.

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J.N.

answers from Chicago on

There is another option you haven't mentioned. My kids have food allergies, and we prefer to take them to our chiropractor. When their spines are adjusted properly, their bodies function more like they should, which minimizes the discomfort of their allergies. Also, he is able to do muscle tests (non invasive at all) to see what they are allergic to so they can be avoided. We use an awesome chiropractor in Plainfield, IL if you need a referral let me know!

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T.G.

answers from Chicago on

I took my 1.5 year old to an allergist to determine why my son seemed to have a summer long cold and bumpy skin. The tests were a little rough, but in the long run we discovered he wasn't allergic to the dog we got rid of, but to the grass and pollen he was bringing in the house. Further, the Dr. did about 21 scratch tests (all at the same 15 minute session) in all to try to narrow the problem because his symptoms were not consistant. Our son ended up being slightly allergic to outdoor factors, but more severe to peanuts, eggs and soy. We never considered food to be a problem. He is now much better, hasn't had an asthma attack in a very long time, we haven't had to give him any steroids in over a year and he does not take any medicine daily. Knowing can enable you to take preventive measures and keep the medications as a last resort. Make the appointment.

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I.F.

answers from Chicago on

Yvette

Your better off sticking with your pediatrician at this age. All those tests one has to endure for allergies is not fun. My youngest son is asmatic & has allergies. He is now 11 yrs old, but has gone through many medications for both illnesses. Of which both have been treated by the pediatrics. I did have him go through the allergy testing at age 8, and they pretty much gave me the same meds as the pediatrics has given me in all these years. I suggest you try making some changes around your childs' living environment. Try adding an air purifier in a centralized area of your home, get rid of carpeting and stuffed animals. Pets are not a good choice for allergy sufferers, unless you have a pet that doesn't shed. Buy those mattress & pillow allergen covers and wash every 3 weeks. A medication that has always worked wonders is Zyrtec (which is now available over the counter), although at your child's age I would consult a Dr. Hope this info helps.
Dahlia

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F.W.

answers from Chicago on

Yvette,

How long have you had this pediatrician? You may consider switching. Prescribing an allergy medication for a child that young without appropriate testing doesn't seem "normal". Is the cough dry or "mucusy"? Sometimes a cough is just a cough and it takes time to resolve itself. Given the weather we've had this year, I recomment placing a cool-air humidifier in the sleeping area.

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