Childhood Allergies: Causes & Management
Almost half of all Americans suffer from allergies. Of those individuals, 30% are children. Unfortunately, allergies tend to be more severe in children and their symptoms may differ than symptoms experienced by adults. Although allergies can be a hurdle for to overcome, most children with mild and moderate allergies are able to live a normal life.
What exactly is an allergy?
An allergy is simply the immune system overreacting to a stimulant that would be harmless to others. When the immune system overacts, causes the body to release chemicals such as histamines to protect the individual from what the immune system has deemed harmful. Allergies are hereditary, but they can also show independently in a person’s immune system.
Children tend to exhibit more allergies than adults. Eggs, milk, and peanuts are the most common food allergies that children suffer with. Dust, pollen, pet dander, smoke, and mold are also common triggers in children. However, these allergies are typically not as severe as food allergies. Both food and airborne triggers can cause children with allergies to become sick.
While food allergies are usually more severe, they only account for a small portion of triggers. The most common types of allergies are airborne and seasonal allergies that can affect children at any time. Most often, these types of allergies can cause children to experience cold or flu like symptoms, like coughing, sneezing, and congestion.
How are allergies treated?
Even though allergies have symptoms similar to a cold or flu, they are treated differently. The most common way for children to combat allergies is to simply stay away from triggers. This means that dust should be minimized in some cases, while a beloved pet may need to find a new home in others.
Child friendly antihistamines are a reliable way to combat allergies without avoiding the trigger. These medications can be found over the counter, or can be prescribed by a pediatrician to ensure that the child will not suffer from allergies. Child-friendly allergy shots are also a great way for children with more severe allergies to overcome the difficulties that are experienced when suffering without much change to lifestyle or a reliance on medication.