My allergies really act up this time of year. Do you have anyone in your family that suffer from allergies? Ever wondered how to identify the symptoms of an allergy and how to reduce the suffering for your child?
Common airborne allergens
Dust mites are common airborne allergens. These tiny bugs live in warm, damp, dusty places in your home. They eat dead skin cells. Their waste is a major cause of allergies and asthma.
Other common airborne allergens include:
- pollen from flowers and other plants
- pet dander (dead skin cells from pets)
Signs and symptoms of allergies
Allergic reactions will vary in severity from allergy to allergy and child to child. Where you live can also affect the type and severity of the allergy.
Allergy symptoms vary, but may include:
burning, tearing, or itchy eyes
conjunctivitis (red, swollen eyes)
hives (raised, red, itchy bumps)
itching of the nose, mouth, throat, skin, or any other area
swelling around the face or throat
Airborne allergens usually cause sneezing, itchy nose or throat, nasal congestion, red and itchy eyes, and coughing. Some children also have wheezing and shortness of breath.
Taking care of your child with allergies at home
Treat your child’s allergy with the medicine advised by your child’s doctor. If your child has a rash, calamine lotion or cold compresses may relieve the pain and irritation. Antihistamines (such as Benadryl or Chlor-tripolon) can also relieve the pain or itching. These medicines may cause your child to become sleepy. If your child has a severe allergy, your doctor might give you a prescription for an epinephrine self-injection pen (Epi-pen). Your doctor can show you how and when to use the pen. You or your child may need to carry one at all times. As much as possible, reduce your child’s contact to allergens. The steps you take depend on what your child is allergic to. Discuss this with your child’s doctor.
Some options for reducing your child’s contact with airborne allergens include:
- Have a pet-free home. Or if you have a pet, keep it out of the child’s room and bathe it regularly.
- Remove carpets and rugs from the home, especially from your child’s bedroom. Hard floor surfaces do not collect dust as much as carpets do.
- Reduce the relative humidity in the home.
- Wash bedding in hot water. This will help reduce dust mites.
- Control contact with outdoor pollen by closing windows in peak seasons. Use an air conditioning system with a small-particle filter.
- Get rid of items in the home that collect dust. These include heavy drapes or old, unclean furniture.
- Clean your home often.
- Seal pillows and mattresses if your child is allergic to dust mites.
- Keep bathrooms and other mould-prone areas clean and dry.
Read more about Allergies at: AboutKidsHealth