Children can develop any number of allergies at a young age. With such a large variety of allergies in the world, parents will not be able to prevent them from developing. Common sneezing or coughing does not always mean the child has allergies, but there are other signs of allergies that parents need to watch out for.
Common allergies can include grass, pollen, animal fur, peanuts, eggs, milk, perfume and more. Children are especially prone to roll around in the grass, play in the dirt and somehow just bring more of it with them wherever they go. While rolling around in grass or dirt can irritate the skin, it may not immediately mean allergies.
Signs & Symptoms
However, parents who can identify the signs of allergies early in a child’s life can greatly increase the quality of the child’s life and prevent life-threatening reactions in the child. Signs of allergies include:
- Itching skin
- Skin rashes
- Difficulty breathing
- Sneezing and coughing
- Runny nose or itchy eyes
- Ear infections
- Upset stomach
If a child exhibits these symptoms at certain times of the day or in certain settings, it is crucial for the parent to identify the source and bring the child into our office. Common allergens that are triggers for children can include:
- Trees, plants and pollen
- Animal fur (from dogs, cats, etc.)
- Peanuts, eggs, dairy, soy
- Cigarette smoke, perfume, car exhaust
If a child begins to display signs of allergies, parents need to keep track of when the signs occur in a journal or notebook. This way, when the parents bring the child in for an appointment with us, we can narrow down the possibilities. If the child has a life-threatening reaction to an allergy, then the parents need to take the child to an Emergency Room at a hospital.
For instance, if a child has an extreme peanut allergy and eats peanuts for the first time without knowing about the allergy, the reaction can close the throat and suffocate the child. Fortunately, an EpiPen® is a tool that delivers epinephrine throughout the system for such occasions that can prevent a severe allergic reaction. The EpiPen® can open the airways and help the patient breathe while waiting for medical professionals to arrive at the scene.
After the child receives the emergency care and is stable, the parents need to have a follow-up appointment with our practice to determine the best next course of action. We can help provide several different treatment methods to help with more severe allergies and inform the parents about what steps they need to know in order to help their child during an allergic reaction.
The key to dealing with allergies is to understand what they are. As obvious as that sounds, once we know the allergy, the parents can help the child avoid that specific substance altogether. If the child is allergic to something such as pollen that is in the air during certain seasons, there a few different over-the-counter medications to try.
Living With Allergies
It is crucial for parents to seek professional approval on which medication will effectively treat the child’s allergy. Some medications may work better than others or have adverse side effects that no child should have to live with. We can examine the child and recommend the most effective treatment for the child’s allergies.
It is also crucial for parents to inform the child’s school or daycare of the allergies. If the child has any form of asthma or allergy, the school needs to know and have the necessary tools in case of an emergency. Parents need to go over regulations with the school and where the school recommends for storing the child’s EpiPen®. Many schools now have peanut-free tables where all children with a peanut allergy can sit and avoid the chance of coming into contact with a peanut.
We can also help parents educate their child on why it is crucial to avoid the specific food or substance that causes the allergy. This way, in the event the child has an allergic reaction without a parent present, he or she will know what to do. As the child grows up, he or she will become more aware and capable of dealing with the allergy. However, it is best for the parents to prepare for the worst as a precaution.
If your child has any allergies or displays allergy-like symptoms, give us a call at 212-923-5050. We will schedule an appointment to examine your child’s health and determine the best form of treatment.