It can be hard to see your child suffer from the uncomfortable symptoms of an allergic reaction. While it’s almost impossible to “cure” allergies, that doesn’t mean you have to sit by and do nothing. Learning how to make life easier for a child with allergies can help your family live a happier, healthier life.
If your child struggles with allergies, there are many things you can do to help them cope. Some medicines and various therapies work well, but so does keeping your children away from things they’re allergic to in the first place. Here’s what you need to know to soothe and prevent your child’s allergy symptoms.
The Low Down on Allergies and Children
An allergy occurs when the immune system reacts to a safe substance as if it were harmful. Allergies can cause a range of symptoms and are often present from an early age. People can be allergic to just about anything, from dust mites to shellfish.
Allergies in children are very common and seem to be increasing over time. Some allergies involve environmental substances, such as pollen or dust, while others are only triggered through the ingestion of certain foods. Around 8% of children have one or more food allergies, which can occasionally be life-threatening. In the United States, allergy care in children costs an estimated $21.8 billion annually.
For families, allergies can be extremely frustrating and scary. Environmental allergies often ebb and flow with the seasons, but can involve uncomfortable symptoms like a chronic stuffy nose, watery eyes, headaches, and more. Food allergies can cause itches and rash, hives, and even anaphylaxis, which is life-threatening if not treated immediately. These and many other symptoms can make children’s lives miserable or even threaten their safety.
Some children will outgrow their allergies as they grow up, but others won’t. Allergies are notoriously difficult to treat, which is why avoidance of allergens, in addition to treatment, is often the best way to control symptoms.
Making Your Home Safer for Your Child
The best way to prevent allergy symptoms is to control the environment and avoid allergens that trigger reactions. Depending on the allergens you’re dealing with, you may not be able to completely eliminate allergens, but you should be able to minimize or decrease their presence in your home.
Making your home safer might mean some tough trade-offs or inconveniences. Parents who smoke need to think of the impact on their child’s symptoms and respiratory comfort. If your child is allergic to pet dander, then it may not be a good idea to have an animal in the house, meaning that you may need to find a good home for any existing pets.
If the allergen is something like dust mites, it might mean extra work like vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, and washing bedding more frequently. Installing hardwood floors and an air filter may also help. It’s important to find out exactly what your child is allergic to so that you can minimize their exposure to the allergen.
It’s That Time of Year
Nintey percent of children outgrow food allergies, but seasonal allergies can be a lifelong affliction. Reducing the effect of seasonal allergies can be challenging, especially for children who like to spend time outdoors.
If your child is struggling with a seasonal allergy to a type of plant pollen, then one of the best ways to reduce symptoms is to learn more about the plant’s life cycle. Some plants release more pollen in the morning at certain times of the year, while others are more active in the evening. If the allergies are severe, you may even want to consider moving to an area where the plant is not native or as plentiful.
Watch Out for Food Allergies Also
The good news about food allergies is that they often aren’t permanent. But whether your child will eventually outgrow them or not, you need to be careful about the food they eat, especially when you are not directly involved in the preparation.
Read labels carefully when buying prepared foods. Make sure all your child’s teachers and any parents who will be responsible for providing food in any capacity know about the allergy. If the allergy could be life-threatening, your child will need to carry emergency medication and the school may need to make adjustments.
Work With a Trusted Healthcare Provider
You’re not helpless when it comes to managing your child’s allergies. It’s important to work with a holistic, caring, compassionate, and knowledgeable allergist so that you and your family have the support you need in coping with your child’s allergies. Not only will they help you find solutions for reducing allergic reactions, but they’ll help you implement short-term methods for reducing and relieving uncomfortable symptoms at home, at school, and anywhere else you go!