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The magnitude of the problem of allergic disease in children was brought out by the U.S. National Health Survey,1 which showed that 32.8% of children less than 17 years of age with chronic illness had an allergic disease. The purpose of this statement is to discuss the relationship between the child's primary physician and the pediatric allergist to help bring adequate care to the child with allergies.
Children may be referred to or consult an allergist for various reasons:
(1) An allergic survey may be necessary because earlier efforts failed to control allergic symptoms or because an allergy may be involved in recurring otitis, sinusitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, or other infections.
(2) The child's physician may feel that desensitization is necessary, but he may not have the time, expertise, or the inclination to treat the child.
(3) The parents may recognize what they believe to be an allergic problem or they may feel that prior management has not brought satisfactory relief; therefore, they may seek advice and therapy on their own.
The goal of treatment of the child with allergy is to provide effective relief of symptoms and prevent the development of complications. An early comprehensive study of a child with allergy can be a prophylactic measure. Children should never be expected to "outgrow" their allergic symptoms. Some children appear to outgrow them; but, chronic sinusitis, bronchitis, or emphysema may develop later. Buffum urged, "When asthma begins, get it under control quickly. Patients treated early do better."2 Not every child with allergy needs to be seen by an allergist.
- Copyright © 1971 by the American Academy of Pediatrics