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Common Allergies in Kids to Watch Out For

  • Your child is not alone

    Your child is not alone

    An estimated 50 million Americans
    have allergies, according to the Centers
    for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These allergies usually show up
    in infancy or childhood. Allergies can get in the way of your child’s ability
    to sleep well, play, and function in school. Here’s what to look out for and
    how to determine if your child’s symptoms may be an allergy.

  • Growing prevalence

    Growing prevalence

    The prevalence of skin and food allergies in American
    children jumped between 1997 and 2011, says the CDC. The rate of respiratory
    allergies, the most common type among children, remained stable during this
    period. The CDC data show varying prevalence by age, with younger children more
    likely to have skin allergies and older children more likely to have respiratory
    allergies. You may see skin symptoms in your little ones, and your older
    children may tend to hack and wheeze.

  • What happens

    What happens

    In an allergic reaction, your immune system kicks in
    to defend against what is considered a normal substance for most people, but
    isn’t for your body. The allergen, or offending substance, can be food, pet
    dander, or pollen from grasses or trees. It can trigger a host of reactions.
    Your immune system will react as if it’s fighting off a foreign invader.

  • The basic signs

    The basic signs

    Your
    child may have allergies if they have runny, itchy, red, or swollen eyes that persist
    for more than a week or two. The same goes for a runny nose. Are the symptoms
    chronic? Does your child say that their mouth or throat itches or tingles? Do
    they scratch their ears? The American Academy of Pediatrics
    says these may be allergy symptoms, possibly of hay fever or allergic rhinitis,
    the most common form of allergy among children. Note whether the symptoms recur
    at the same time of year, each year. 

  • Check skin for allergies

    Check skin for allergies

    The skin, the body’s largest organ and part of the
    immune system, will sometimes react in protest to an allergen. Check your
    child’s skin for eczema, which shows up as dry, red, scaly patches that itch.
    Watch for hives, which may also signal an allergy. These red welts on the skin
    can range in size. They can be as small as the tip of a pen or as large as a
    dinner plate, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

  • Respiratory symptoms

    Respiratory symptoms

    Hay fever or other allergies can affect your child’s
    breathing. If you hear a noisy wheeze when your child breathes or if you notice
    rapid breathing or shortness of breath, have your child checked by their
    pediatrician. A dry, hacking cough with clear mucus is another sign of respiratory
    allergies. Observe your child at play. If they seem to tire easily or more
    quickly than other children, this may be a sign of allergies.

  • Tummy problems and other signs of allergies

    Tummy problems and other signs of allergies

    Allergies can set off intestinal symptoms in
    children. If your child often complains of stomach cramps or has repeated
    attacks of diarrhea, this may hint at an allergy. Other signs of allergies in
    children can include headache or excessive fatigue.

    Allergies can also affect your child’s behavior,
    producing unusually crabby or restless moods. Consider keeping a symptom log to
    share with your pediatrician, noting the symptom and what happened right before
    its onset (e.g., exposure to a pet or eating a certain food).

  • The allergy gang of eight

    The allergy gang of eight

    According to the Mayo Clinic, these eight foods
    contribute to 90 percent of
    food allergies:

    • milk
    • eggs
    • peanuts
    • tree nuts, such as almonds, cashews, and walnuts
    • fish, such as bass, cod, and flounder
    • shellfish, such as crab, lobster, and shrimp
    • soy
    • wheat

    In addition, some children can’t tolerate citrus
    fruits. The connection between allergy and allergen isn’t always obvious, so you
    may have to do some investigating to find the link. Traces of peanut can lurk
    in cereals, and soy can hide in flavorings or thickeners found in processed or
    frozen foods.

  • Pet allergies

    Pet allergies

    The presence of household pets, even shorthaired
    animals that don’t shed, can provoke allergy symptoms in children. It’s not the
    pet itself that causes allergies, but its dander (dead skin cells), saliva,
    urine, and fur. If your child sneezes and wheezes after playing with or holding
    a pet, consider having them tested for animal allergies.

  • Allergy assistance

    Allergy assistance

    Your pediatrician can help you sort out whether your
    child’s symptoms are allergy related and can assist you in formulating a
    management plan. Easing skin, respiratory, or intestinal allergy symptoms may
    require antihistamines or other medication. You can teach your child strategies
    to avoid or decrease allergic reactions, including passing up certain foods,
    playing outdoors when pollen counts are low, and washing hands right after
    touching a pet.

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References:

  • Allergies. (2015, November 21). Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/allergies-asthma/Pages/Allergies.aspx
  • Allergies: What’s the problem? (2011, February 2).
    Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/healthcommunication/ToolsTemplates/EntertainmentEd/Tips/Allergies.html
  • Allergy treatment: Environmental trigger avoidance.
    (2014). Retrieved from http://www.acaai.org/allergist/liv_man/trigger_avoidance/Pages/default.aspx
  • Children’s Allergies. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.acaai.org/allergist/allergies/children-allergies/Pages/default.aspx
  • Hives. (n.d). Retrieved
    from
    http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/e—h/hives
  • Jackson, K. D., Howie, L. D., & Akinbami, L. J.
    (2013, May). Trends in allergic conditions among children: United States,
    1997–2011. NCHS Data Brief, 121.
    Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db121.htm
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014, February 6). Food allergies:
    Understanding food labels. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-allergies/AA00057
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. (2013, May 22). Pet allergy: Causes.
    Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pet-allergy/DS00859/DSECTION=causes
  • When Pets Are the Problem. (2015, November 21).
    Retrieved from http://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/allergies-asthma/Pages/When-Pets-Are-the-Problem.aspx

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Posted by: Dr.Health

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