Allergies in Children

Allergies in Children

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    A , Allergy & Immunology, answered

    Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) may activate your children's plain old allergies in the event you renovate your home, or if your child's school is going to be renovated.

    I therefore advise that:

    • Children be isolated from renovation activity, especially during the demolition phase of construction.
    • When the old materials are stripped out, the exposed areas be inspected for water damage, and that all areas be thoroughly swept for vermin residue, dust, and so forth.
    • Your architect incorporate the requisite specifications for healthy air exchange.
    • Any central heating and cooling system be easy to maintain and clean, to discourage buildup of viruses and toxic bacteria.
    • If your child's school is planning an overhaul, consult with school officials to ensure that the children's health is provided for.
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    In addition to invading your pillows and blankets, dust mites also make their home within the fur of all of those stuffed animals your kids love to snuggle. If your child has significant allergies or any type of wheezing or asthma, non-washable stuffed animals should be off-limits. Dusty stuffed animals can trigger an asthma attack or cause uncomfortable allergy symptoms, such as a runny nose and itchy eyes. And any time your child is exposed to those dusty stuffed animals, his asthma or wheezing can actually become worse or more chronic. If you want your child to breathe easy, make sure that any stuffed animals he owns are washable -- and then throw them in the washing machine once a week. After all, if your child can’t breathe, nothing else matters.

    If your child doesn’t have allergies or has only rare bouts of milder allergies and no regular bouts of wheezing, you can be a bit more lenient about letting him have nonwashable stuffed animals. However, you should be aware that the dust in the stuffed animals might be contributing to your child’s occasional misery. And continual exposure to allergens can make a mild case of allergies worse. If your child’s bouts with allergies increase or he starts wheezing more often, you should reconsider your decision to let him have nonwashable stuffed animals.

    Here are a few other hints to keep in mind with regard to nonwashable stuffed animals.
    • Give the animals a “vacation” when your child has a cold or seems particularly allergy-prone. Put the animals in a plastic bag in another room, and give your child a few washable stuffed animals to play with. If your child’s symptoms redevelop when you give the stuffed animals back, consider phasing out the nonwashable stuffed animals. Move most of them out of the child’s room while you make the transition from nonwashable stuffed animals to washable ones.
    • Don’t keep hordes of stuffed animals on your child’s bed or stashed in his room.
    • Try frequently vacuuming the stuffed animals to decrease the number of dust mites.
    • Dust mites like normal household temperatures and humidity. To reduce their humidity and raise their temperature, tumble the stuffed animals in your clothes dryer weekly. Check with the manufacturer beforehand to make sure you won’t ruin the toys.

  • 1 Answer
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    You can't cure allergies or asthma, but you can minimize the damage by trying to reduce your child's exposure to triggers. Some tactics you can take:

    • Keep the floor in your child's room uncarpeted, because bare floors don't trap allergens as much as rugs and carpets. Even better, do the same for the whole house.
    • Use light drapes that you can wash regularly instead of heavy ones, which can trap dust. Even better, install blinds and wipe them down frequently.
    • Use special 1 micron or latex covers for all pillows and mattresses to keep dust mites from sneaking onto your child. Commonly sold as "hypoallergenic dust mite protectors," they should zip closed, not just wrap or stretch around like a fitted sheet.
    • After your child plays outside, change her clothes, because they may have picked up pollen. And have her take a shower or bath at the end of a good day of play outside, to minimize exposure to poison ivy and other contact allergens (not to mention ticks: see chapter 8).
    • If your child is waking up with allergic symptoms, it could be the stuff inside his pillow, either the feathers or the mite poop. Switch from feather to foam and seal with a one micron pillowcase to see if his symptoms improve.
  • 2 Answers
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    A Pediatrics, answered on behalf of

    Allergies can make some people itch. Others get runny nose. Some feel stuffed up and get a headache. Severe allergies can trigger wheezing making it hard to breath. When kids don't feel well they may respond by not being as happy or cooperative. They may exhibit stress with poor behavior or even by being withdrawn.

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    A answered
    Talk with your doctor if you think your child might have allergies. Based on what the child’s symptoms are and a physical exam, the doctor should be able to make a diagnosis. If not, he or she may refer you to an allergist for blood or allergy skin tests.
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    A , Allergy & Immunology, answered
    Allergy treatment in children may vary for a few reasons. For example, treating a child between the ages of 2 and 3 is different from treating a child between 3 and 4. Why? Because one is in that very real stage known as the "terrible twos," when children say no to everything and begin to test their debating skills, whereas by the time four rolls around, they are more likely to have reached an age of (comparative) reason. Up to the time of preadolescence, children seem to attain some degree of ease with their treatment. They become knowledgeable and even cooperative, although boys and girls are somewhat different. They remain reasonable until they approach adolescence, when a whole new set of dynamics kick in, and the gender differences become more pronounced.
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    A , Allergy & Immunology, answered
    With nasal allergies, parents take the line of least resistance in administering prescribed treatment to their children. Let's face it, getting children to sit still while Mom shoves a tube in their nose is a pain in the neck for Mom, not to mention what it does for the child. Thus, children are frequently overtreated with strong chemicals -- steroids and bronchodilators -- in the lower airways when much lower-tech preventive treatments such as irrigation of the upper airways with salt water would stave off the need for rescue. Simple, but yucky. In fact, the problem isn't confined to children with allergies, but it also has implications for those who suffer from frequent ear infections and thus are treated with antibiotics more than they should be.
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    A , Allergy & Immunology, answered
    In the event of allergy or enlarged lymph tissue from infection, the Eustachian tube will be closed for long periods of time, creating a vacuum in the middle ear, during which fluid can accumulate, followed by one of those painful ear infections. Chronic ear infections can cause hearing loss. Sometimes a tube has to be placed in the eardrum to substitute for the blocked Eustachian tube. If your child is prone to ear infection, allergy treatment is not merely useful but necessary.
  • 4 Answers
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    A Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of
    Watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, itching, hives, eczema, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting are symptoms of allergic reactions in children.  However, tingling sensation in the mouth, swelling of the tongue and the throat, difficulty breathing, drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness, and even death can occur with severe reactions. 
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    In some cases, a doc may recommend that your child get allergy shots. These are usually given if she is just miserable with allergic symptoms and the doc needs to find some way to improve the quality of her day-to-day life. The way it works is that your child will be given a very small amount of the allergen over a period of time, to help her body learn to tolerate the exposure. Allergy shots are not typically given to kids under five. They can be a positive life changer for a subset of kids.