Spring brings with it all kinds of dust, dirt, plants and pollens blowing in the breezes. That’s just part of the natural cycle of the seasons. But for many kids, Springtime is a season of constant allergy attacks. Some kids obviously have more severe allergies than others; in some cases, allergies can turn into serious medical situations at worse. At best, they can limit a child’s enjoyment and freedom during the warmer months.
Parents are rightfully concerned about allergies and children. If you’ve ever been in this position, you’ve probably ended up taking your child to urgent care (or a family doctor) and been referred to an allergist, which is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of allergy, asthma, and immunological issues. A number of tests can be administered to establish whether or not a child is allergic to certain pollens, foods or other allergens. Usually these are easy tests, with a minimum of discomfort to children (although some tests do involve scratching or pricking the skin). An allergist will often be able to determine with a high level of certainty whether (and to what extent) a child is allergic to certain things.
If certain allergies are established, your allergist will recommend a certain type of treatment. The exact nature of the treatment administered will, of course, depend on the nature and severity of the allergy. Medication or shots are commonly administered to children with bothersome allergies. In the case of food allergies, your best bet is to avoid the allergen completely. This can be difficult, however. Your doctor or urgent care specialist may have useful advice on how to stay healthy and allergy-free, especially throughout the spring months.
But let’s back up a minute. For parents who aren’t really familiar with this subject, what are some common allergies and their side effects?
The reality is that around 25% of all American children suffer from one allergy or another. That’s one out of every four kids. Outdoor allergens include pollens from various trees and plants, and stings/bites from various types of insects. It’s possible, for example, to have a severe allergic reaction to bee stings. There are also various indoor allergents, including dust, mold spores, or hair from dogs or cats. Other things can irritate or exacerbate allergies, including second-hand smoke, pollution, and even strong perfume. Finally, there are a number of common food allergies, including nuts, dairy, and egg allergies.
Symptoms can be mild to severe, including sinus infection, fatigue, sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose, skin rash, or even upset stomach. Obviously, when one or more of these symptoms come out of the blue, it’s not very pleasant for kids — or the parents who love them!
Even if your child has seen an allergist and is on anti-allergy medications (anti-histamines) or treatments, it’s often necessary to deal with symptoms as they come. In these situations, it helps to know how to soothe and calm allergic reactions. Eyedrops, antihistamines, nasal sprays, inhalers, can all be valuable tools, depending on the nature of the allergy. When a certain type of allergy is severe, you may need auto-injectors to be able to provide shots when a reaction is taking place.
Take to your urgent care center about your child’s allergies, and if necessary, ask for a referral to an allergist. This will give you more concrete answers about your child’s allergies, and reliable tools to treat allergy attacks when they occur.