March 24, 2022
5 Things to Know About Allergies in Kids
As a parent, we want our kids to enjoy the best childhood they can. But for one in five American children, allergies are real. The good news is that you have control over your child's environment and can make adjustments to help them live everyday life.
Here is some information and tips to help you understand how allergies can affect your child. Whether it’s toddler allergies or allergies in an older child, we’ve got you covered.
1. Allergies can impact a child's concentration at school and overall performance.
About 40 percent of children suffer from allergies, and kids' allergy symptoms can cause a significant change in their behavior and performance at school. Studies have shown that when allergy sufferers attend school, they perform worse than their peers who do not suffer from allergies.
Not to mention, many children with allergies also have asthma. Studies show that untreated allergies can develop into asthma, and if asthma in children is not under control, it will impair your child's function, resulting in missed school days and missed work for parents.
Symptoms like fatigue, headache, sneezing, runny noses, watery eyes, and itchiness can get in the way of attention and concentration. Also, medications (such as antihistamines) taken to manage these symptoms can interfere with school performance.
2. Kids' allergies can impact a child's desire to play outside or participate in sports.
Is your child active outdoors and suddenly not wanting to participate? It could be due to allergies.
Seasonal allergies can do more than just cause a runny nose or cough. When left untreated, they can lead to drowsiness, too. This type of exhaustion is sometimes called allergy fatigue.
Allergy fatigue results from your body working hard to fight off an allergen. It’s very similar to how your body fights a virus like the common cold or the flu, which can also leave you feeling drained.
Allergies can also indirectly cause your child to feel tired during the day because their nighttime sleep is disturbed. Oftentimes when you’re laying down, cold and allergy symptoms become worse. Common allergy symptoms like coughing, sneezing, and congestion can make it hard to get a good night’s rest, making it hard for them to stay focused the next day.
3. What is the best allergy medicine for kids? Antihistamines aren't the long-term solution you think they are.
Many parents are looking for the best allergy medicine for kids, and antihistamines generally come up on that list. However, antihistamines affect children differently than adults. Some antihistamines may make young children sleepy or stimulate the nervous system, causing hyperactivity. And many studies show negative impacts of antihistamines on a long-term basis.
Other solutions to consider are allergy drops, which involve no needles and can be taken from home.
Allergy drops, also known as sublingual immunotherapy, are a common alternative to allergy shots. Both treatments are options for treating allergies at their cause, ultimately providing long-term allergy relief.
Allergy drops introduce low doses of the specific allergens you are allergic to under the tongue, where the body absorbs them. Over time, the body will build a tolerance to these allergens, lessening or eliminating the allergic reaction altogether.
4. Kids' allergies and colds have similar symptoms, but they have differences.
Differentiating between cold and allergies within your child can be hard to figure out, but some differences do exist.
Common allergy symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, congestion, itchy, watery eyes, and sometimes dark circles under the eyes. One way to tell if your symptoms are related to a cold or allergies is if they last longer than 10 days. If so, it's usually allergies.
Also, general aches and pains and fever are symptoms that are never associated with allergies. Having your child stay indoors to avoid pollen, staying away from conditions that stir up pollen (like fresh-cut lawns), and planning outdoor activities later in the afternoon when grass pollen is lower can help manage allergy symptoms.
Unsure if your sniffling, sneezing, or coughing symptoms are related to a cold or allergies? Take our quiz -- the results may surprise you!
5. Kids' allergy medicine can help, but there are easy things you can do at home to relieve kids' allergies.
At home, you can do a lot more to control your child's environment and limit exposure to allergens than you can at school. But it's worthwhile to ask your child's teacher or principal how they handle allergies at school and if they will consider measures such as:
- Track pollen counts. Most weather stations and websites report the levels of airborne pollen in specific areas. Pollen levels are often higher on warm, windy, dry days. If pollen is high in your area, keep your child indoors if you can.
- Cool your home and car with an air conditioner instead of opening the windows. Fresh air is great but often, that's how allergens such as pollen get indoors, making your child's allergies worse.
- Make sure you're changing your child's clothes and at least washing off their face after being outside for a significant amount of time. As we all know, pollen gets EVERYWHERE. It attaches to everything, including your child's skin and clothes. So once they come inside, make sure they swap their outdoor or school clothes immediately. This makes an excellent excuse to convince your kids to get out of stinky clothes.
- Use a clothes dryer instead of hanging laundry outside. Leaving your clothes to air dry outdoors can attract pollen. We suggest using an indoor drying rack or a clothes dryer to dry your children's clothes.
For a full list of clearing tips to combat indoor allergies, read this article!
Still need more help with your child’s allergies? Book an appointment, today. We have several pediatric allergists who would love to help your family get your child’s allergies under control!