Allergies, or the body's overreaction to a substance that it mistakenly views as dangerous, can trigger allergic reactions in children that range from mild to life threatening. A specific protein is usually at the root of the problem even though the triggers may vary. Here are 5 common allergy triggers to which your child is most often exposed, and some tips for managing them.
Food - An increasing number of children have allergies that are food related and the most common foods seem to be peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, eggs, milk, cheese, crab, lobster, fish, and soybeans. With such a wide variety of possible products, one of the best ways to determine which foods cause problems is to keep a food diary. Then should an allergic reaction occur, you have a record of what was eaten and can better pinpoint the food that may possibly be causing a problem for your child.
Try avoiding the suspect food and make a note if there is no further occurrence. If there is another occurrence, continue on by eliminating other foods that may possibly contain the allergen. Involve your pediatrician in the process, and get advice for developing an emergency plan should you need it.
Pet Dander - 80 million American homes have pets as part of the family. Is there any wonder that pet dander is a common allergy trigger for children? Dander is invisible to the human eye and the protein in the dander can also be found in the pet's saliva, and urine. Pet hair can also attract dander which is sticky, and so just rubbing a pet's coat can cause a reaction.
If your pet pre-dates your child and there is a problem try bathing your pet to get rid of the dander, but consult your vet first. Make your child's room off limits to the pet, wash clothes and linens frequently to remove any dander that might have found its way into the room. Use a high efficiency particle arresting air purifier to provide an extra layer of protection against airborne dander that often attaches to other airborne pollutants in your home.
Environment - Seasonal allergies to tree, grass, and weed pollen are tough to avoid, particularly during the peak of the season. Curtail outdoor activities on dry windy days when pollen is more able to spread. Plan outdoor activities for days when the pollen count is low, and if possible avoid the outdoors during early morning hours when pollen counts are generally higher.
Keep your child's school informed of allergies, write a note on days when it is not advisable for your child to be outdoors, and if necessary get a note from a doctor to have on file should questions arise. Make sure all of your child's care givers have emergency contact numbers, and a clear procedure to follow should an emergency arise.
Insect Sting - Wasps, Yellow Jackets, Hornets, Black Flies and other insects can pose a serious threat to those who are allergic. Symptoms that often indicate your child's body is in overdrive are extended swelling, dizziness, weakness, vomiting, and headache. Should these symptoms occur, seek immediate medical attention. Afterwards, make a follow up appointment with your pediatrician, and ask about an Epipen that could be used in emergencies to counteract the severe and sometimes life threatening symptoms.
If in fact your child does have a sting allergy, find out all you can about the insect, when and where it is most prevalent, and help your child avoid places and activities that might expose your child to it.
Household - Pollutants such as household dust, dust mites, mold and mildew spores, pollen, bacteria, and viruses are present in the cleanest of homes. They are a constant aggravation and irritation to an allergic child. Many of these irritants are too small to be seen, but your child's body knows they are there and produces histamines as a reaction which often presents as a runny nose, congestion, sneezing, coughing, dark smudges under the eyes, and an overall lack of energy.
One of the best ways to combat these invisible airborne triggers is to constantly eliminate them with a high efficiency particle arresting (HEPA) air purifier that, by definition, can remove sub micron particles as small as .3 microns. And even though you may not be able to see the difference, your child's body will feel the difference.