When to Suspect Allergies in Young Children
Some allergies are easy to identify by the pattern of symptoms that follows exposure to a particular substance. But others are subtler and may masquerade as other conditions. Here are some common clues that could lead you to suspect a child may have an allergy.
Repeated or chronic cold-like symptoms that last more than a week or two, or that develop at about the same time every year. These could include:
- Runny nose
- Nasal stuffiness
- Throat clearing
- Nose rubbing
- Itchy, runny eyes
Common Allergens in Home and School
Many indoor allergens cause problems for children because they are inside of home and school for longer periods.
- Dust: contains dust mites and finely ground particles from other allergens, such as pollen, mold, and animal dander
- Fungi: including molds too small to be seen with the naked eye
- Furry animals: cats, dogs, guinea pigs, gerbils, rabbits, and other pets
- Clothing and toys: made, trimmed, or stuffed with animal hair
- Latex: household and school articles, such as rubber gloves, toys, balloons; elastic in socks, underwear, and other clothing; airborne particles
- Bacterial enzymes: used to manufacture enzyme bleaches and cleaning products
- Certain foods
Controlling Allergy Symptoms
- It’s helpful to use air conditioners, where possible, to reduce exposure to pollen.
- Molds are present in the spring and late summer, particularly around areas of decaying vegetation. Children with mold allergies should avoid playing in piles of dead leaves in the fall.
- Dust mites congregate in places where food for them is plentiful (e.g. flakes of human skin). That means they are most commonly found in upholstered furniture, bedding, and rugs.
- Wash linens weekly, and other bedding such as blankets, every 2 to 3 weeks in hot water to kill the dust mite.
- Pillows should be replaced every 2 to 3 years.
*Excerpts from “Seasonal Allergies in Children” – Healthy Children Magazine