Allergies are the result of an increased sensitivity to environmental contaminants, called allergens. The body reacts to these allergens with an exaggerated immune response that can cause sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, skin rashes, and difficulty breathing. Children with allergies often seem to have a cold that never goes away. Allergies to food can also cause abdominal cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Some allergies, like dust and animal dander, are present all the time. Others are seasonal, like mold in the winter, tree pollen in the spring, grass in the summer, and ragweed in early fall. The most common food allergies are to cow's milk, peanuts, fish, nuts, and eggs.
Allergies tend to run in families. Some children seem to outgrow their allergies, while for others, allergies are a life-long problem. Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict which pattern your child will follow, but avoiding exposure to the offending substance is the best treatment.
To minimize dust and airborne allergens, replace furnace filters frequently, or use a room air purifier. Vacuum and clean furniture often, especially in your child's room. Avoid wall-to-wall carpeting and use plastic covers on mattresses and box springs.
Keep animals with fur or feathers out of the house. Do not smoke in the house, and avoid products with strong odors, like perfume, mothballs, and paint.
Have your child change clothes after coming to from play during high pollen seasons, and have them bathe and wash their hair to remove allergens before going to bed.
Medications can help control allergic symptoms, but many of them can cause drowsiness. So, discuss medications with your child's doctor before using them.
Allergies can make your child miserable, but following these simple guidelines can help her avoid the "nasties" that can trigger those awful sneezes and wheezes. This is Dr. Andy morgan, helping you to care for your kids.