This is a sponsored guest post.
If you’ve noticed that your child is coughing and sneezing a lot, often complains of a poorly tummy, always seems to break out in sore rashes and spots, or often can’t see for watery eyes, they may be one of the unlucky 1 in 13 to suffer from a food allergy. Unfortunately, the most common childhood allergies also tend to be things that can be found in abundance around the average home, and you may not even realize the allergy exists until the symptoms are already there. If the allergy is particularly severe, you may find yourself shocked if you aren't already in the know.
For the sake of this article, we're going to focus on some of the more common allergies you might run into with your children. As always, this is not a substitute for medical advice, but it can give you an idea of what to look out for and when to seek the counsel of your doctor or pediatrician. An allergy to dust, for example, is going to be more likely of a concern than, say, an allergy to water...the later, unfortunately being a real thing, though not technically an allergy, in the histamine-releasing sense of the term.
Dust and Pollen
Formed from dead skin cells, loose fabric, and other such detritus, dust is omnipresent in nearly every environment and moves about as we do. This can make a dust allergy particularly difficult to get away from, and if it gets into the eyes or the nose, it can often cause irritation, shortness of breath and mild sneezing or coughing. Particularly severe dust allergies may also cause asthma or asthma-like symptoms. Pollen, tiny spores released by plants as part of their reproductive cycle, can cause similar reactions, and as they are also tiny particles, can also be difficult to avoid in certain locales.
The easiest way to prevent dust and pollen allergies is to be very particular about cleaning your home. Make sure to wipe down every surface each morning and afternoon, and vacuum all carpets and furniture thoroughly. When handing your children anything to which dust or pollen may cling, be sure to beat the worst of it off. If your child wants to go outside, be sure to give them plenty of antihistamines to give their immune system a boost.
You’ll be pleased to know that there’s about a 20% chance your child may eventually outgrow a childhood allergy to peanuts. In the meantime, your best chance of avoiding any allergic reactions to peanuts is to limit your child’s contact with them as much as possible. In worst case scenarios, contact with trace amounts of the stuff can cause anaphylaxis – the closing off of airways because they’ve swollen, which could lead to extreme and even fatal breathing difficulties.
Many schools are now “nut free” – with any nut products banned from school lunches. Making teachers, family members, and other people responsible for the care of your child aware of this allergy is also critical to ensuring that they won’t accidentally come into contact with peanuts.
Lactose intolerance is a common-enough affliction -- in fact, most human beings are lactose intolerant to some degree. It’s usually mild enough, resulting in increased flatulence (stop giggling), nausea and stomach cramps. As with peanuts, the best thing to do is just limit the amount of contact your child has with milk.
Fortunately, soy and almond-based substitutes for milk are fairly widespread, although people accustomed to cow's milk may find the taste something to get used to.
Bee, wasp, and hornet stings ordinarily cause soreness and swelling even in people who aren't allergic to them, so many people may get confused between the two. To avoid the panic and unnecessary trips to the hospital, learn how to distinguish between a normal reaction and an allergic reaction:
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
- Hives that appear red, itchy and spread beyond the immediate area of the sting
- Rapid pulse or anxiety
- Swelling or difficulty breathing
Materials (Wool, Cotton, Polyester, etc.)
Some kids may also be allergic to certain materials, typically wool. In such instances, you’ll probably notice rashes, soreness, and even swelling on areas of the skin that have come into contact with the fabric in question. Naturally, the easiest way to deal with this is to check labels on clothes, bedding, and furniture religiously. Any decent department store should be able to help you find safe products, and you can always find exactly what you need online.
In particular, always keep an eye out for breathing difficulties, and be aware of what your children are exposed to. Being forewarned is being forearmed, and it can help you avoid unnecessary trips to pediatric urgent care, or worse -- the emergency room.