Kids’ allergies are much more prevalent today than in years past. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, the risk of allergies has increased, with 40% to 50% of American children suffering from some type of allergy. Allergic diseases, including asthma, are now the fifth leading type of chronic disease in the U.S.
Statistics like these leave plenty of parents anxious. They worry that if their child is diagnosed with an allergy, he/she won’t lead a normal life. Parents also wonder if they’ll be able to handle the allergy in a proper manner. Allergies may seem scary, but they don’t need to be. If you follow our tips, you and your child can keep allergies in control.
What Causes Allergies?
Allergies seem to appear out of nowhere, but there are causes for them. Each allergy is different; its severity and longevity varies depending on the child. Allergies occur when your child’s immune system mistakes something innocent, such as pollen or a peanut, for a threat. The immune system attacks the perceived threat, and your child experiences allergic symptoms. These range from coughing, sneezing, and runny noses to itching, rashes, swollen eyes, and in severe cases, anaphylactic shock.
Some children outgrow allergies, while others live with allergies their entire lives. Certain triggers may make allergies worse. This is why you often see kids sneezing and sniffling more in the spring and fall, when pollen, ragweed, and other allergens populate the air. Children who are genetically predisposed are more likely to develop allergies, but any child can have them. Once your child is diagnosed with one allergy, it’s likely he will develop others.
Common Kid Allergies
Food allergies have received plenty of publicity in recent years. Many kids are allergic to several types of food and drink, including milk, shellfish, and eggs. Peanuts and tree nuts are the biggest offenders and considered the most dangerous. If your child has a nut allergy, it’s not enough to keep him away from the nuts themselves, or products such as peanut butter. You must also read labels to ensure foods and drinks were not prepared in peanut or tree nut oil, or in facilities that handle nuts.
Aside from foods, kids are often allergic to pollen, weeds, and pet dander. Some children are highly allergic to bee and insect stings, especially those from bumblebees or honeybees. Others are allergic to perfume, cigarette smoke, and common indoor irritants.
Signs of Allergies
Kids with allergies often have dry coughs with clear mucus. They may break out in red, scaly, itchy patches, or tire more easily than other children. If you suspect your child has an allergy, see your pediatrician right away.