Childhood allergies can be a cause of concern for you as a parent. Allergies not only affect your child's health but their quality of life, too.
At Fairfield Family Health, our team understands that allergies occur when the immune system reacts to normally harmless substances as if they were harmful invaders. As experts in children's allergies, here's what we want you to know.
Common allergies in children
While there are various allergies, let’s look at four of the most common in children. They include:
1. Food allergies
Food allergies are among the most prevalent allergies in children. They can trigger severe reactions, making them a significant concern for parents.
Common allergenic foods include:
- Tree nuts
Symptoms can range from mild hives and digestive issues to life-threatening anaphylaxis. To manage food allergies, you need to be able to identify trigger foods, educate caregivers and teachers, and always have an epinephrine auto-injector on hand in case of emergencies.
2. Allergic rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis, often called hay fever, is another common childhood allergy. It's characterized by symptoms like:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
These symptoms typically occur due to pollen, dust mites, pet dander, or mold spores. To alleviate allergic rhinitis symptoms, you can give your child antihistamines and nasal corticosteroids and minimize exposure to allergens through frequent cleaning and keeping windows closed during high pollen seasons.
Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that can develop during childhood. Allergic triggers, such as pollen, pet dander, or dust mites, can exacerbate asthma symptoms.
Children with asthma may experience:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
Management involves medications like bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids and avoiding known triggers. Attending regular follow-ups with us as your child's care team and having an asthma action plan are essential for controlling the condition.
4. Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
Atopic dermatitis, commonly known as eczema, is a skin condition that often starts in infancy or early childhood and causes your skin to be dry, itchy, and inflamed. Eczema can worsen with exposure to allergens like certain foods, dust mites, or harsh detergents.
To manage eczema, keep your child's skin well-moisturized with hypoallergenic creams, identify and avoid triggers, and use prescribed topical steroids when necessary.
At Fairfield Health, we have treatment options, including:
Low-dose immunotherapy (LDI)
LDI helps promote immune tolerance to various antigens, like lyme, Epstein Barr virus, mycoplasma, and strep. Other antigens may include mold, pollen, chemicals, viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Click here to learn more.
Low-dose allergen (LDA)
LDA involves desensitization with a combination of various low-dose allergens with beta-glucuronidase. For more information, click here.
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT)
SLIT is done by placing drops under the tongue and gradually increasing the dose of an allergen, which may include environmental allergies like trees, grass pollens, house dust, animal dander, and mold, in addition to food sensitivities like wheat and dairy.
Preventing childhood allergies can be challenging, but you can take proactive steps to reduce the risk. Breastfeeding during infancy, introducing solids appropriately, and maintaining a clean and allergen-free environment can help. However, sometimes allergies are inevitable due to genetic predispositions.
We encourage you to be vigilant and knowledgeable about your child's allergies. This includes recognizing the signs of an allergic reaction, having an emergency plan, and ensuring that teachers, caregivers, and family members know your child's allergies and how to respond to them.
By understanding these allergies, their triggers, and management strategies, you can better protect your children and provide them with the necessary care and support to lead healthy, fulfilling lives despite their allergies.
We're here to help. If your child suffers from allergies, make an appointment with us for a proper diagnosis and guidance on managing their allergies. Call our friendly staff today or book an appointment online when ready.