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What is a Pediatric Allergist?

Article Details
  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 31 January 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A pediatric allergist is a person trained to treat and diagnose children with allergies and conditions that affect the immune system. This person may work with children who have respiratory, skin, and food allergies as well as those who have asthma and similar conditions. A pediatric allergist also helps children who are allergic to certain medications and insect bites. A person in this field may deal with patients who have mild allergic reactions and related conditions as well as those who have severe cases.

When a child has an allergy, his immune system is at work. Essentially, the child’s body mistakes a typically harmless substance for a dangerous invader. When the immune system reacts to the substance, it produces allergic symptoms that may be minor, such as itchy eyes and sneezing. In some cases, however, a person may have severe allergic reactions that lead to a large amount of swelling and trouble breathing. Health conditions such as eczema, which causes an itchy rash, and asthma, marked by narrowing airways and breathing problems, can occur as a result of allergies.

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Often, a pediatric allergist helps children with impaired or dysfunctional immune systems as well. For example, a child’s immune system may fail to adequately protect him from infections, and he may become ill frequently. When exposed to pathogens that normally cause only minor infections, a child with an impaired immune system may become very ill. For example, a child with an impaired immune system may develop frequent lung infections or yeast infections that affect the mouth and throat.

While a child may receive quality medical treatment from any trained allergist, a pediatric allergist is specifically trained to work with children. An individual in this field typically spends several years in school and training, learning how to treat allergy and immune-related problems in children. For example, typical preparation for this career involves four years of college, four years of medical school, three years of pediatric care training, and three years of allergy and immunology study. A person may also have to seek certification within the allergy and immunology field.

Since any allergist may provide effective care for a child, parents may wonder whether it’s necessary or best to seek the help of someone with specific training in pediatrics. Many parents prefer the specialized care a pediatric allergist can provide for their children. A person trained in pediatrics has spent an extended amount of time learning how to help children remain calm and unafraid during examinations and treatment. He’s also focused on the ways different treatments affect children versus adults.

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