Child Allergies

Child Allergies

Every parent wants their child to enjoy peak good health so they can stay active, do well in school and be happy. But allergies can easily get in the way of all that. Pollen, mold, and insect bites or stings outdoors, dust, dust mites, animal dander, and so much more can trigger allergies in your child. Allergic reactions occur when the child is exposed to something that irritates their immune system. The immune system then sends out histamines to rid the child's body of the allergen. Histamines use watery, itchy eyes, sneezes, coughs, and itching to relieve the body of the allergen. With antihistamine medications, your child can find relief from allergy symptoms.

Children can break out in hives or a bad rash when afflicted with an allergen. Breathing becomes difficult, which will look a lot like asthma. Mild symptoms include sneezing, coughing, itching, runny nose, and watery, itchy eyes are the most common symptoms of child allergies. Rubbing of the nose and sniffles are also common symptoms of allergies. The eyes, lips, and/or face will swell. Be aware that if the child has diarrhea, vomiting, and/or stomach pain, then the allergic reaction is anaphylactic, and requires medical attention immediately. Severe allergic reactions or anaphylactic reactions include faintness, shortness of breath, the child can't speak or does so with difficulty, low blood pressure, and pale color. If your child is experiencing these symptoms, they may need emergency medical assistance.

When an allergen enters the body, the immune system makes histamines to counterattack. These attach to the cells in the body, making them leak fluid and swell. The effect of this is sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, and itching. Antihistamines prevent histamines from attaching to the cells in the first place. They also make the itching, watery eyes, and sneezing go away. Antihistamines come in varied forms such as pills, gel tabs, creams, and eye drops. They also come in two categories: sedating and not sedating. Benadryl is a good example of a sedating antihistamine. Claritin and Allegra aren't sedating. Zyrtec and Claritin both come in eye drops. Prescription antihistamines include Clarinex and Xyzal.

Corticosteroids stop inflammation. They also treat as well as prevent sneezing, sniffling, and the itchy, runny nose accompanying allergies. These, too, come in pills, eye drops, inhalers, and creams. Prednisone is perhaps the most common steroid used, but Flonase and Atrovent, both nasal sprays, are also popular.

If over the counter or prescription medications have no effect on allergies, then immunotherapy - or a shot - may be required. This is when a tiny speck of the thing someone is allergic to is injected into the body. The shots will gradually reduce in frequency until the body either needs significantly less of them or they stop altogether. Immunotherapy isn't a cure, but it will make the sufferer more comfortable. Allergy symptoms are no fun, but they can be reduced using medications. If your child suffers from allergies, talk to their pediatrician for more information

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