Allergies can quickly make your child miserable. It is no fun to constantly feel like you have a cold. Allergies can last for weeks or months, typically in the spring and fall. There are a number of things your child can be allergic to, including:
- Outdoor allergens, such as pollen, plants, and insect bites or stings
- Hair, fur, or dander of household pets or other animals
- Certain foods
- Irritants, such as cigarette smoke or perfume
How to Tell if Your Child Has Allergies
Sometimes it can be hard to distinguish allergies from a cold. The symptoms are very similar. Some of the major symptoms include a watery or puffy eyes, runny or stuffy nose, coughing, and sneezing.
There is a major difference to look out for when trying to distinguish between the two. If there is itchiness of any kind, such as your child’s eyes, nose, or roof of the mouth, that can point to allergies.
You can also look for a fever. A fever indicates that your child has a cold and not allergies. If your child’s symptoms last around 5 days or a week, it is likely a cold. Allergy symptoms tend to last for weeks at a time. They are usually worse in certain times of the year, such as in the spring or fall.
Another indicator of allergies is when symptoms come on all of a sudden. You can take a look at what your child is doing at the time that their symptoms start to tell if the symptoms are possibly a result of allergies. If your child doesn’t have any symptoms inside of the house, then starts sneezing when they go out to play, they probably have allergies. The same goes for if they get congested after petting a cat or dog when they weren’t before. Allergies can sometimes be easy to spot if you are paying attention.
If you ever have any questions about a possible illness or allergies, consult with your pediatrician. They can answer any questions you may have and will do an examination of your child to determine the underlying cause of their symptoms.
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4 Types of Allergies
Allergic Rhinitis, or Hay Fever, is the most common type. It presents itself with some or all of the following symptoms: sneezing, runny nose, congestion, itchy nose/eyes, and cough. It can also lead to chronic ear problems and a sore throat from postnasal drip.
More About Allergic Rhinitis
Food allergies can be potentially life threatening. The most common food allergies are peanut, egg, shellfish, and milk allergies. While some allergies can last a lifetime (usually those to peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish), your child can sometimes outgrow certain food allergies, such as those to milk, eggs, soy, and wheat.
Pediatrics East has an experienced dietician on site who can consult with you about your child’s food allergies. If allergy testing is needed, any of our doctors can refer you to a specialist.
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Eczema is an allergic skin disease. It is a recurring skin irritation that is usually worse in the inside parts of joints, such as the elbow, knee, and ankle. The overwhelming symptom of Eczema is red, itchy skin. It is common to also suffer from food allergies, asthma, and Allergic Rhinitis when you have Eczema. It typically starts in early childhood.
More About Eczema
Asthma can be thought of as allergies of the lungs. It usually presents as wheezing, but can also present as recurring cough. Asthma isn’t technically an allergy, but it typically will occur at the same time as allergies.
More About Asthma
How Do You Treat Allergies in Children?
The goal of allergy treatment is to make your child as comfortable as possible and lessen the interruption of play and sleep. You don’t have to lock your child inside when allergy season starts. There are a couple of easy remedies that can bring your child relief.
Relieve your child’s symptoms, and then work your way up from there. A nasal spray can help with the nose stuffiness and itching. Your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter antihistamine to stop the body’s reaction to allergens. These can be taken if your child is feeling bad from exposure to allergens. There are many antihistimines on the market, including:
It is recommended that you stay away from antihistamines that contain diphenhydramine, as they tend to make you drowsy. If your child is under the age of two, be sure to consult your pediatrician before giving them any medication.
Limit Exposure to Allergens
Try to cut out allergens your child is exposed to. You don’t have to limit outside play in order to do this. After your child is done playing for the day, give them a bath and wash their hair to get rid of any allergens they brought inside with them. Take your shoes off before entering the house, as you can track allergens all over your home without realizing it. Keeping your windows shut in the fall and spring can also help to cut out the allergens that enter your home.
Cut Out Food if Your Child Has a Food Allergy
If your child has a food allergy, it’s important to make sure they are not exposed to the food item they are allergic to. If your child has a severe food allergy, they may be prescribed epinephrine for if they have a bad allergic reaction from ingesting or coming in contact with that particular food.
With breastfeeding mothers, their babies can sometimes have allergic reactions to something in their mom’s diet. You can provide your baby with relief by simply eliminating that particular food from your diet. A common allergy with breastfeeding moms is dairy. If you are unsure what your baby is having a reaction to, you can get an allergy test for your baby.
Pediatrics East Can Help!
If you suspect your child has allergies, or if you are having trouble differentiating cold symptoms from those of an allergy, we are here to help. Your pediatrician will determine which your child is suffering from and make recommendations on treatment options. Click below to make an appointment.
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