When a child suffers from an allergic reaction it’s not only scary, it can be extremely dangerous. From what an allergy is, to best forms of treatment, here’s a guide on everything parents need to know this allergy season.
What are Allergies?
Allergies are an immune response to anything the body perceives as “foreign,” whether that’s a
chemical, food product, or any material in contact with the body. When it comes to finding out if your
child has an allergy, careful parental detective work can help solve the question. In some cases it’s easy; such as noticing if their skin breaks out in hives when wearing a certain material. Other times may be more confusing. To determine if symptoms are from allergies, parents should ask themselves questions like:
- Does it happen the same time each year?
- Is it worse when being outside?
- Does it get better or worse when they travel to an area that has different pollen?
It’s hard to remember from year to year, especially if you have several children. Keep a journal to refer back to; checking for yearly patterns.
Reduce Exposures to Triggers
Once you’ve determined if your child has an allergy, there are ways to reduce exposure to triggers. Symptom reduction techniques depend on the allergen, for example kids with food and cloth allergies need to be on strict avoidance. With seasonal allergies, techniques have to be used to reduce exposure, but it can’t be eliminated. Anything that traps dust will also trap pollen, so minimize the stuffed animals, heavy drapes, rugs, and other dust collectors in bedrooms.
But what should parents do when their child is actually suffering from an allergy? The newest antihistamines, which include Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra, are largely non-sedating and now available over the counter. Nasal sprays and pills also combat stubborn symptoms, but be careful not to “double dose” or combine remedies with the same agents.
Short of living in a bubble, it’s hard to protect our kids against allergens that are always in the environment. But keeping track of their symptoms, reducing exposure to triggers, and proper treatment will ensure they are safe this allergy season.
About the Author:
As physician and Medical Director of Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care, Dr. Robert Korn has been providing adult and pediatric emergency care for 32 years. Dr. Korn also serves as the Medical Director Acute Care Services at Northwell Health.
Dr. Korn earned his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Columbia University and went on to pursue his Doctorate degree at The Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University. Dr. Korn then completed a three year combined internship and residency at Children’s National Medical System’s Pediatrics Residency Program. In 1998, he received his MBA from the University of South Florida. Dr. Korn is Board Certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine and the American Board of Pediatrics and also belongs to the American College of Emergency Physicians.