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YOUTH allergies



Back when my husband and I were dreaming of starting our family, I imagined the things I wanted our kids to inherit from each of us and those I hoped they wouldn’t. One of the things I certainly hoped not to pass along was my seasonal allergies. Well, one child out of four isn’t bad, I guess. If you suspect your child may have allergies of any kind, the first thing you want to do is schedule an appointment with a board-certified allergist. An allergist can run diagnostic testing to determine what — if anything — your child is allergic to and create an action plan to help them understand what causes their symptoms and determine what medications and practices can help. The 10 most common childhood allergies are foods, animals, pollen, mold, dust mites, medications, latex, insect stings, cockroaches, and perfumes/household chemicals.

You can do many things at home to help mitigate allergy reactions. Vacuum and dust frequently in living areas, especially your child’s room. Wash their bedding in the hottest temperature possible and be diligent about replacing HVAC filters. If they have food allergies, there may be a learning curve for you as you find your way around cooking the things they can eat. And always — always — keep an EpiPen where anyone in the family can find it.

Talk to your child’s classroom teacher, school administrators, and school nurse about your child’s allergy or asthma treatment plan and what things your child needs to avoid. There are many places for allergens to hide in a classroom. Mold lurks in HVAC ducts. Pollen can float in through open windows. There may be trees growing around the playground that produce an allergic response or dander on a classroom pet. Allergens can be present in classroom rugs or carpets. They may even have reactions to the clothing and backpacks of other children.

If your child is starting at a new school or in a new classroom, pay close attention to their allergies to determine whether something at school is triggering symptoms. If your child has food allergies, you’ll need to send lunches prepared at home and substitute classroom snacks with those they can tolerate.

If your child has been diagnosed with asthma, you’ll need to be diligent about warding off respiratory viruses, which can worsen their symptoms. Remind your child about healthy practices like frequent handwashing and not drinking from the same glass, cup, or straw as their buddies. If they’re not feeling well, keep them home from school since their resistance will be lower than usual.

Keep in mind that allergy and asthma symptoms can change as your child matures or moves from one environment to another, and their growth can impactmedication efficacy and dosage. For this reason, make an annual check-up with their allergist and reevaluation of their allergies a priority.

‘Tis the Season

One in five kids suffers from seasonal allergies, a number which is likely to grow, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, due

to climate change leading to longer pollen seasons and more significant pollen production. Their advice? Get ahead of symptoms instead of reacting to them by starting medications early and using them regularly throughout the season.

This can calm the immune system and provide greater relief. Waiting until your child is miserable with itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and a scratchy throat may take more medication to control their symptoms, which may also mean more side effects.


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