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Allergies: What Are They and How Do They Affect My Child? – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

Spring weather can cause allergies in children, especially those whose family members also have allergies. (Photo courtesy)

Imagine this: it’s spring and your child comes to you with sneezing, stuffiness or runny nose, itchy eyes, sore throat and probably even a rash. What’s happening?

This is probably an allergy. You may have heard of this as “hay fever”. This applies to allergies that occur only at certain times of the year. For each child, what causes these symptoms may be different. Some of the more common triggers or allergens are found in the environment, such as pollen from trees, grass or weeds.

Mold is another well-known trigger. Mold is more common in humid environments. Inside the home, animal dander or pests such as dust mites, cockroaches or even mice may be to blame. In some cases, foods or medicines may contain allergens.

These symptoms often mimic the common cold. Caregivers may have trouble distinguishing the two. Allergies are usually distinguished by colds due to the associated itching in the eyes or nose, as well as itchy rashes that are commonly found on skin folds such as elbows or knees.

Allergies are also more common in children whose family members also have allergies. They can develop at any age, but can first be discovered by changing the environment, such as moving to a new home or geographical area. If not managed with strategies or medications, these symptoms can be devastating. They can affect a child’s ability to pay attention at school or enjoy time at home with family or playing with peers.

As a parent, there are several ways to manage allergies. The first step is to be aware of the symptoms and triggers. If your child’s symptoms are triggered outdoors, air quality can help you determine when your child may be most affected. Air quality is a measure of how significant certain pollutants are in the outdoor air.

Many weather applications will include the Air Quality Index (AQI), a daily assessment of air pollution in your area. Your local air quality index is also available for free at AirNow.gov. These ratings use a color scale from green (good air quality) to red (poor air quality) and a corresponding number from 0 (good) to 500 (bad).

They give you an idea of ​​the quality of the air outside for that day (and even for that particular hour) and a forecast for the next day. You can use this information to plan outdoor activities and determine what precautions to take.

Sometimes children may have symptoms, even when the air quality rating is the safest (less than 100). If your child goes out these days, get him to take a bath or shower, wash his hair, and change when he gets home to get rid of allergens. If possible, use air conditioning instead of opening windows on the windiest days to prevent allergens from entering the home.

Inside the house, clean the dust regularly, especially in the bedrooms. Wash bed linen and other bed linen at least every 2-3 weeks in hot water to destroy dust mites. In addition, if there are fears of pest infestation, organize destruction services. Your child’s pediatrician can help by writing a letter if you have difficulty getting your landlord to help.

If your child is still struggling with allergies despite these strategies, there are several treatments to try.

  1. Nasal rinsing (also called nasal irrigation with saline or Neti pots) work by rinsing the inside of the nose with salt water. This can remove any dust or pollen and even loosen thick mucus. You can buy them at the counter or make your own here.
  2. Antihistamines (such as Zyrtec, Claritin or Benadryl) – Available without a prescription, they can help relieve itching, watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing. However, some make people feel tired and should not be given to young children. Read the medication labels carefully and talk to your child’s doctor before trying new medications.
  3. Nasal corticosteroids (such as Flonase) – Using daily nasal sprays, they are highly effective and widely used to stop persistent allergies. Safe for long-term use in children, your child’s doctor may prescribe them, although it is possible to get some sprays without a prescription. Always be sure to read the instructions carefully, as some may not be safe for young children.
  4. Allergy vaccines – Your child’s doctor may offer anti-allergy vaccines, which are usually given weekly or monthly by an allergy specialist to help reduce the sensitivity of the immune system to allergy triggers. They can also help reduce your child’s risk of developing asthma later in life.

As always, contact your child’s doctor with any concerns or for more information about allergies or medications used to treat them.

Allergies: What Are They and How Do They Affect My Child? – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel Source link Allergies: What Are They and How Do They Affect My Child? – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

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