Categorized | Child Health Issues, Health

Allergies In Children – What Parents Need To Know

An allergy is a disorder of the immune system which usually occurs when a person’s immune system abnormally reacts to a harmless substance (known as an allergen) in the environment. Everyone is at risk to it, especially children. Hence, it is imperative for parents to learn about allergies in children so they can better manage the condition.

Most Common Allergens

The most common allergens are:

  • Drugs – OTC (over-the-counter) and prescription medications such as aspirin and penicillin
  • Food – products such as peanut, dairy (cheese, milk and egg), wheat, soybeans, seafood (crab, fish and lobster), tomatoes and strawberries
  • Animal or Pet Dander – found in the animal’s hair, saliva and urine
  • Environmental Factors – dust, dust mites, mold, pollen, hot or cold temperatures, sunlight
  • Insect Stings – venom from fire ants, honeybees, wasps and yellow jackets

It is also true that allergy is hereditary. If both of the toddler’s parents have allergies, there is an 80% possibility the toddler will acquire an allergy of some sort. If only one is allergic, then there is a 25% to 50% chance.

Symptoms of Allergies

  • Eyes – red, puffy and watery eyes
  • Nose – sneezing, nasal itching, runny and clogged nose
  • Stomach – bloating, diarrhea, vomiting
  • Chest – asthma (difficulty breathing), coughing, wheezing
  • Skin – eczema (dry, flaky, irritated skin particularly around the neck, arms and legs), hives (small, red bumps that spread around the body), contact dermatitis (red, swollen rashes that occur after direct contact with an allergen)

Diagnosing The Exact Cause of An Allergy

Detecting the exact cause of an allergy is quite tricky. It would be best to visit your toddler’s doctor so allergy testing can be administered. Your toddler might undergo skin testing - the most common method of allergy testing. It is done by putting a small amount of the suspected allergen to your toddler’s skin and then lightly piercing the area so the substance moves under the skin. The skin will then be observed for signs of a reaction.

A blood test may also be administered. But it is less accurate than skin testing.


Keep Your Toddler’s Surrounding Clean

Keep your home as allergen free as possible. Remove any item from your home that collects dust (e.g. rugs, carpets, heavy curtains, etc.). Clean your home, especially your child’s bedroom frequently, at least 3 times a week. Change his beddings once a week and wash them in hot soapy water. Keep the windows closed, especially at night. During pollen or allergy season (spring, summer and fall season), let your toddler stay indoors. Keep pets and plants outside your home. If you run a humidifier, make sure to change the water to avoid mold and mildew from growing. Lastly, create a smoke-free environment. Do not smoke inside or outside your house.

Offer Medication

There are prescription and over-the-counter drugs that prevent and provide relief from allergies. Antihistamines and Corticosteroids (an anti-inflammatory medicine) are available in capsule, eye drop, liquid and nasal spray form. Make sure to consult with your pediatrician first for the correct dosage.

Allergy Shots

For severe allergy problems, allergy shots or immunotherapy may be given. Your toddler will receive weekly shots for 6 months. Once his body can endure the shots, it will be administered twice a month for 6 months, followed by monthly injections for a year.

Raising an allergic toddler can be difficult. But luckily, you can help manage it so he can outgrow it and live a normal life.

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