Allergies in children are very common and cause numerous lost days from school and lost days from work for parents. Allergies are on the rise. It is estimated that between 30 and 40% of children suffer from nasal allergies, and approximately 8% of children suffer from at least one food allergy. Additionally, approximately 10% of people have a drug allergy. Here on the Garden Island, allergies are active year round with all of our beautiful plants, trees, and flowers blooming all year around. It has also been noted that vog tends to worsen allergy symptoms.
Allergies are caused by allergens. Allergens can be inhaled, eaten, injected (medications or stings), or come into contact with skin. There are millions of allergens.
- Pollens from trees, grasses, flowers, and weeds
- Dust mites, which live in furniture upholstery, carpet, and bedding
- Molds, both indoor and outdoor
- Venom from insect stings
- Medications and foods
- Animal hair and dander
- Saps from trees and fruits such as mango
Allergies can cause many different symptoms depending on the specific allergic condition. Additionally, allergies tend to run in families. Statistics show that if a child has one parent with allergic condition the child has a 40% chance of developing and allergic condition. If the child has two parents with allergies the percentage increases to 70%!
How Can I Help My Child?
The first step is trying to pinpoint what your child is reacting to. Sometimes this can be done by such methods as elimination diets. Another option is blood testing for certain allergens. Finally, your doctor may send your child to an allergist for skin prick testing.
If your child has an allergic conditions, here are some things you can do to help:
- Avoid things you know your child reacts to – foods, animals, indoor plants
- Keep your windows closed on high pollen and dusty days
- Never allow people to smoke around your child, especially in enclosed spaces like houses and cars
- Keep your house clean and dry to help with dust mites and molds.
- If your child has a dust mite allergy, avoid carpet in the house, limit stuffed animals, keep the humidity at 50%, and encase his/her mattress and pillows in special dust mite covers
- See your pediatrician about the possibility of using medications to help your child with his or her allergy symptoms.