What You Can Do to Help Your Child with Allergies

A hypersensitivity to substances eaten, inhaled or brought into contact with the skin is called an allergic reaction. The body’s natural immune system directs antibo dies to respond to these substances.

Discovering the source of an allergy and avoiding the cause is the best treatment. When this isn’t possible, antihistamines can be taken to reduce the symptoms.

In rare cases, an allergic reaction can be life-threatening, such as with insect stings or bites. Contact with these types of allergens can cause difficulty breathing and a drop in blood pressure (anaphylactic shock). For these serious allergies, it may be necessary to carry an epinephrine syringe designed to administer a shot that will decrease the severity of the reaction.

COMMON SYMPTOMS OF ALLERGIES

  • watery eyes
  • sneezing
  • abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or
  • vomiting
  • hives or swelling beneath the
  • skin
  • nasal congestion
  • headaches

EMERGENCY SYMPTOMS

  • wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • swelling of the lips, tongue or face
  • significant swelling around the site of an
  • Insect sting or bite
  • an Itchy or warm skin rash

If these symptoms are present, get your child to an emergency room immediately.

TYPES OF ALLERGIES AND TIPS FOR CONTROLLING THEM

Seasonal Allergies

Keep your home and car windows closed. Limit your child’s time outside. Bathe and groom your indoor pets frequently to limit excess hair, dander and pollen. Vacuum and dust your home often. Talk to your child’s doctor about using over-the-counter medications or trying immunotherapy (allergy shots). Change or clean the heating and cooling system filters regularly. Use a HEPA filter system.

Dust and Dust Mite Allergies

Keep the bedroom and the other areas where your children spend most of their time as dust-free as possible. Avoid carpeting and upholstered furniture. Consider replacing carpeting with throw rugs. Rugs should be washed at temperatures hot enough to kill dust mites. Cover mattresses and pillows with dust-proof covers and wipe them down weekly. Avoid using wool or down blankets and feather pillows. Wash bedding weekly in hot water. Change or clean the heating and cooling system filters regularly. Use a HEPA filter system.

Mold and Mildew Allergies

Keep the house well ventilated and dry during damp weather. Use a dehumidifier during humid weather and an air conditioner during hot weather. This will remove mold spores from the air. Change or clean the heating and cooling system filters regularly. Use a HEPA filter system. Clean bathroom and kitchen surfaces often with bleach to reduce mold growth.

Pet Allergies

Keep pets outside, or at least out of the bedroom. For severe symptoms, the best solution might be to get rid of the pet. Bathe and groom your indoor pets frequently to limit excess hair, dander and pollen. Vacuum and dust your home often. Change or clean the heating and cooling system filters regularly. Use a HEPA filter system.

If you are unsure which foods cause your child’s allergic reactions, try eliminating one thing at a time from his/her diet and then reintroducing it to monitor any reaction. Read package labels and avoid foods that contain the allergen. Educate your child, and the people who care for your child, about which foods to avoid.

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