When your child’s immune system overreacts to normally harmless substances. In other words, you might be able to consume products with peanuts in them while a child who has a peanut allergy cannot because his or her body reacts to the allergen in ways that can be life threatening.
Allergies in children are common. Many people suffer from different allergies and just because you’re not allergic to something doesn’t mean that your child won’t develop one. Luckily, your Idaho Falls pediatrician can help diagnose and treat any allergies your child may suffer from.
Treating allergies in children may involve something as simply as spraying or applying an antihistimine onto the affected area (in the case of rashes, hives, and bites/stings) or involve the use of an inhaler or even epinephrine injections. Once your Idaho Falls pediatrician has determined the proper course of treatment for your child, regular follow ups and meetings may be necessary once treatment has begun.
Types of Allergies in Children
Below are brief descriptions of different types of common allergies in children. Remember that your child doesn’t have to exhibit these symptoms exactly. Many people have varying degrees of reactions when affected by allergens. If you have any questions as to whether or not your child has developed an allergic reaction to something, call your Idaho Falls pediatrician, or visit an ER in the case of emergency, immediately.
- Anaphylaxis – This is among the most serious of allergic reactions and requires a trip to the ER if not treated immediately. They symptoms can include rash, nausea, difficulty breathing, and shock. Anaphylactic shock is life threatening.
- Asthma – Asthma is a potentially life threatening condition that can be managed with the use of prescription medication, usually in the form of an inhaler. Asthma can be triggered by exposure to allergens (e.g. breathing in pollen) and even by second-hand smoke. Exercise induced asthma is characterized by restricted airways in response to strenuous exercise such as running and heavy playing.
- Contact dermatitis – When your child brushes up against poison ivy, oils from the plant transfer from the leaves to the skin during contact. In much the same way, allergens such as mold spores, animal dander, or dust from medications may contact the skin, causing an allergic reaction. Contact dermatitis is one of the more common types of allergies in children.
- Eczema – A lifelong allergy, sufferers of eczema experience intensely itchy rashes and raised bumps on the affected area of skin. It is triggered by contact with the allergen. This condition is believed to be hereditary and may correlate with the occurrence of allergies and asthma. Eczema can flare up when exposed to a triggering allergen as well as a response to a dry climate. Eczema is treated by keeping the skin for dryness. Medications may also be prescribed to help mitigate symptoms.
- Food allergy – Common food allergies in children include reactions to nut, dairy, and wheat products. The symptoms of a food allergy can range from mild to severe nausea, skin rashes, or even more serious conditions that may require immediate treatment in an ER. Unfortunately, it is often challenging to adapt to a lifestyle that omits these allergens. Thankfully, there are whole industries built around creating and providing foods and products that are allergen free. When it comes to dairy allergies, don’t confuse an intolerance (e.g. lactose intolerance) with allergies. An allergy affects more than one area of the body due to the fact that allergies are an immune system issue. For instance, lactose intolerance is caused by a deficient enzyme in the digestive system.
- Hay fever – Allergies in children can be noticed at different times on the year (or even all year long). Pollen and dust in the air during spring time and summer can cause a regular day at the park become a sneezy, itchy, stuffy mess. Though not necessarily life threatening, the discomfort alone can cause your child to not want to go outside. Normally, your Idaho Falls pediatrician will want to see your child and run a few tests to determine what your child is allergic to. Then, a medication may be prescribed.
- Hives – Small red itchy bumps or welts may appear on your child’s skin may indicate an allergy to food, medicines, a virus or another trigger. Hives may last a long time or may vanish just as fast as they appeared. Hives can be mistaken for chickenpox so a visit to your Idaho Falls pediatrician may be the best thing you can do for your child.
- Insects – There aren’t many things as scary for a child than to be bitten or stung by an aggressive wasp or wandering honey bee. In addition to the physical pain, an allergic reaction can become life threatening very quickly if not treated rapidly. If your child has been stung, keep a close eye on your child’s health and general condition while treating the site of the bite or sting with over the counter medicines. If your child becomes short of breath in a rapid time frame, call an ambulance immediately.
- Medicines – Medications containing penicillin or aspirin can cause severe allergic reactions in children who are sensitive to these allergens. They symptoms may include difficulty breathing, rash, hives, and nausea. Your Idaho Falls pediatrician will advise you on what types of substitute medications your child should take should he/she have a medicine allergy.
Allergies in children can range from very mild to very severe and the only way to be 100% sure of how to treat them is to schedule a visit with an Idaho Falls pediatrician at The Pediatric Center in Idaho Falls. Oftentimes, a simple visit will get you all the answers you need. Your pediatrician will help to determine the triggers that elicit a reaction, suggest to and guide you on how you can prevent the introduction of the allergen to your child, and provide you with a treatment and follow up plan. Your Idaho Falls pediatricians are always available to answer your questions.
Additional Information About Allergies in Children
If for any reason our Idaho Falls pediatricians cannot 100% diagnose the allergy your child is suffering from, an appointment with an Allergist may be scheduled. Your child may also be set up with immunotherapy, or more commonly known as allergy shots. The concept is similar to vaccination – a very small amount of the allergen is introduced to your child’s body in an effort to help decrease the reaction your child’s immune system uses when faced with the allergen. This therapy may lessen the symptoms of a reaction should he/she be exposed to one. Immunotherapy is ineffective for food allergies.
How you can manage allergies in children
There are many things you can do as a parent to help mitigate your child’s exposure to allergens. For instance:
- Keep windows, screen doors, and other openings into your home closed during times of high pollen contamination. Windy days tend to blow pollen all over the place.
- Practice proper hygiene and keep your home clean. Vacuum regularly and clean up any moisture or standing water to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. Clean and vacuum your furniture regularly. Dust all surfaces and wipe down with a cleaner that repels dust build up. Regularly shake out rugs and floor mats.
- If you have pets or certain types of flowering plants in your home, consider moving them outdoors or restrict them to areas of the home away from the allergic child. Pet dander and pollen can cause year round allergic reactions and significantly lower your child’s quality of life. Pets, unfortunately, aren’t a good choice for those who suffer from pet allergies.
- If you know what your child is allergic, avoid having those allergens in the home. This will help to prevent unintentional cross-contamination and accidental exposure. Let everybody who visits or lives in the home know about these allergens and instruct them to be mindful of the products and foods they bring into the home.
- If you are a smoker, consider quitting. Second-hand smoke has been proven to aggravate and cause asthma in children who are regularly exposed to it. In addition, even lingering second-hand smoke on clothing is known to cause allergic reactions in sensitive children. Quitting smoking will not only keep your kids from getting sick, but it will be easier on your wallet and your health, as well. There has never been a better time to give up tobacco.
- Work with your pediatrician to monitor your child’s treatment. Report any side-effects caused by allergy medication and be sure that any medications you keep at home have not expired and replace them when they do.
Call The Pediatric Center For Help With Allergies in Children
The first thing you should so if you suspect that your child is allergic to something is to call 911 in the case of emergency. If your child is having mild to moderate reactions, call your Idaho Falls pediatrician right away. All of our pediatricians are experienced with allergies in children and can help you manage them comfortably and reliably.
For more information about allergies in children, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website. They have a wealth of knowledge available that every parent should be aware of concerning allergies to other medical issues children may experience. All of the treatments we perform are done by licensed pediatricians who have completed years of schooling to learn all about your child’s health and well being. Your child’s happiness is of our utmost concern. We make every effort to accurately and professionally assist you in your quest to provide the best life possible for your child. We are available at any time during our business hours to answer any questions you may have and schedule an appointment.
Featured Image Credit: By James Heilman, MD – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11508979