May 5, 2021 10:15 am
An estimated 8% of kids today have food allergies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While that might sound low, it’s equal to approximately two kids in every classroom. Add that to the roughly 7% of kids with seasonal allergies, and kids’ allergies can quickly become a common concern.
Allergies are not contagious, but if one or both parents have them, your child will be more likely to develop them as well. And while many kids outgrow their allergies, it’s important to help kids avoid severe allergic reactions. This includes knowing and avoiding allergy triggers, learning what to do in the event of a serious reaction, and working closely with a child’s pediatrician.
Some common kids’ allergies include:
- Pet dander
- Plant pollen
- Shellfish, such as crab, lobster or shrimp
- Tree nuts, such as almonds, cashews, and walnuts
If your child has one of these common allergies, contact with these substances will cause an allergic reaction. This is caused by your child’s immune system. When working properly, our immune system protects us from disease and infection. However, allergies are the result of a confused immune system, reacting as though common substances are actually harmful invaders. The result is an allergic reaction, which can be dangerous.
Allergy Signs & Symptoms in Kids
Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe. Knowing the signs and symptoms of food and seasonal allergies will help you know what type of treatment to seek.
Common symptoms of food allergies include:
- Abdominal pain
- Coughing, wheezing
- Difficulty breathing, throat tightness
- Hives, itchy skin and/or red spots
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
Common symptoms of seasonal allergies include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Sneezing or sniffling
- Stuffy or runny nose
If your child has a severe allergic reaction, seek medical help right away. Signs of a severe reaction include lightheadedness, heart palpitations, difficulty breathing or loss of consciousness.
Can You Reduce the Risk of Kids’ Allergies?
A pediatrician can administer an allergy test to help identify if your child is allergic to a food or airborne substance.
If your child does have allergies, avoid the allergens whenever possible. For food allergies, this means carefully reading ingredient lists and asking questions about how food is prepared in restaurants; for dust, pet dander and pollen, this may include regularly washing clothes and bedding to get rid of allergens, or monitoring outdoor pollen counts to prevent reactions.
A pediatrician will also help your child monitor their allergy symptoms and provide treatment when necessary.
If your child is having a life-threatening allergic reaction, get to the emergency department immediately. For seasonal allergies and other minor allergic reactions, contact a pediatrician.
This post was written by Magnolia Regional Health Center