My Child Has Allergies! What Can I Do?
Allergies can cause kids a world of misery, and parents to be stricken with worry. Arming yourself with knowledge about allergies and following some simple tips can help to alleviate your child’s allergy symptoms and provide you with some much needed assurance.
An allergy is an exaggerated response of your child’s immune system to allergens,1 which include dust mites , mold , pet dander and pollen . When your child comes into contact with these allergens, his or her immune system mistakenly identifies them as harmful substances and attacks them by releasing histamine (a type of chemical) into the body. This causes your child to experience the symptoms of an allergy.
What You Should Know About Kids’ Allergies
Be it at home, school, a friend’s house or soccer practice, it’s virtually impossible for a child to completely avoid being exposed to allergens. Your child’s allergies can be of two kinds:
1. Seasonal allergies 2 :
These are triggered in your little one due to a higher-than-average amount of outdoor allergens, like pollen. Seasonal allergies often occur during times when plants or trees flower and the wind blows their pollen around in the environment. However, this type of allergy can also occur at any time of the year, depending on what kind of plants your child is allergic to.
2. Hereditary allergies :
The likelihood of children developing allergies is higher if one or both of their parents also have allergies. This indicates that allergies in some children might be hereditary although they may not necessarily be allergic to the same things as their parent/s.3
Your child can also be exposed to allergens inside and outdoors. Indoor allergens include dust, mold, and pet dander, while outdoor allergies include pollen, dust and pollution.
CHILDREN'S ALLERGY SYMPTOMS
Allergy testing by an allergist can help assess whether your symptoms are caused by dust mites, pet dander or mold.
Symptoms of Allergies Vs. Colds or Flu
Parents should also know how to differentiate between allergy symptoms and those related to a cold or the flu4 so that you know what you’re dealing with and can manage the condition appropriately.
While allergies are caused by an overreacting immune system , colds and the flu are caused by different viruses4.
|Allergy Symptoms||Cold Symptoms||Flu Symptoms|
|Runny nose and sneezing||Runny nose and sneezing||Runny nose and sneezing|
|Rash or hives||Blocked nose||Sore throat|
|Red, watery eyes||Sore throat||Chills|
|Red, watery eyes||Sore throat||Chills|
|Headache||Mild fever (occasionally)||Body aches|
|Swelling||High fever (sometimes)|
|Anaphylaxis *||Extreme fatigue|
* Anaphylaxis, where the airways swell making it impossible to breathe, is an immediate and potentially life-threatening reaction that needs prompt medical attention.
When it comes to managing allergies in your children, fortunately, there are ways to minimize exposure to common allergens and manage allergy symptoms, which will enable your little one to spend more time playing, and less time sneezing.
Tips for Keeping Kids Allergies in Check
It Takes a Village
Between going to school, having play dates with friends, or spending the night at grandma’s house, your child’s exposure to both outdoor and indoor allergens are somewhat out of your control. However, you can still manage your child’s exposure to allergens by sitting down with everyone who comes into regular contact with your child and explaining your child’s allergies to them. This lets them know how they can help prevent your child from suffering allergy symptoms.
Wash Away Allergens
Your child may not always remember to tell you that they were exposed to an allergy trigger, or allergy triggers, which include petting a bunny at school, or rolling in a pile of dried leaves at a friend’s house. Hence, to minimise their exposure to allergens, have them make it a habit to wash their faces and hands thoroughly with soap and water when they come home.
It’s important to talk openly with your children about common allergy triggers. Equipping them with this information will help them to look out for, and avoid these allergens. For example, dust in a classroom or their best friend’s cat. One easy way to start this conversation with a child is by reading Casey and the School Day Sneezes, a free eBook about allergies in children, to them.
Keep Track Of Allergy Symptoms
A child's allergy symptoms may include a runny nose, sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, and an itchy throat. To track your child’s symptoms effectively, you can opt to use this handy worksheet, which will also help you to better understand the cause of all that sniffling and sneezing.
Allergies can have a debilitating effect on sleep, cause daytime fatigue and impact your child’s academic performance. Therefore, it is essential that your child is getting enough restful sleep daily in order for them to be at their best every day. Don’t forget to do the same for yourself!
Be sure to keep children’s allergy medicine on hand for whenever allergy symptoms may strike. Consult your doctor or local pharmacist to know the important considerations when it comes to children’s allergy medicine.
Conquer The Great Outdoors
Outdoor allergens such as pollen can quickly turn a child’s fun day out to a miserable experience for children who suffer from allergies. Identifying easy-to-implement tips for managing an outdoor allergy can enable you to alleviate your child’s symptoms effectively, and allow your little one to enjoy more of the great outdoors, worry-free.
Give Indoor Allergies The Boot
There are also lots of allergens in and around the house and other indoor places, like dust mites , mold and pet dander . These can be hard to avoid but following these easy tips will help you to manage your child's indoor allergies better.
And when your child's allergies strike, consider giving them Children's Loratadine (Claritin®), which works in as fast as 15 minutes5, is non-drowsy6,7 vs. first-generation antihistamines and cetirizine, and provides allergy relief for up to 24 hours7.
IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST, CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR.
ASC Ref. Code: B250P032922CS
- What is allergy ? Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. Updated May 2019. Retrieved on November 24, 2021 from https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/about-allergy/what-is-allergy
- Seasonal Allergies . The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Reviewed in December 2018. Retrieved on November 24, 2021 from https://acaai.org/allergies/allergic-conditions/seasonal-allergies/
- All about allergies. Kids Health. Retrieved on December 8, 2021 from https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/allergy.html
- Cold, flu or allergy? News in Health. Published in October 2014. Retrieved on November 24, 2021 from https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2014/10/cold-flu-or-allergy
- Sur, Denise K C, and Monica L Plesa. “Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis .” American family physician vol. 92,11 (2015): 985-92.
- Kawauchi, H.; Yanai, K.; Wang, D.-Y.; Itahashi, K.; Okubo, K. Antihistamines for Allergic Rhinitis Treatment from the Viewpoint of Nonsedative Properties. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 213. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20010213
- Haria, Malini, et al. “Loratadine.” Drugs, vol. 48, no. 4, 1994, pp. 617–637., https://doi.org/10.2165/00003495-199448040-00009.