If your child has a rash, sniffles or sneezes often, it could be an allergy. Allergic reactions can be caused by cow milk, dust mites, pets and other things.
The best way to find out if your child is allergic is by observing if there is a pattern of a reaction after a certain behaviour or incident, say if a skin rash always comes after drinking cow milk. If you think your child may be allergic, you may want to visit a doctor that specializes in allergies.
Signs of allergic reactions:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Icy eyes
- Belly pain
- Hives or rashes
- Nausea or vomiting
- Red rash around the mouth
- Swelling of face, legs, or arms
- Tightness in the throat
- Trouble breathing, including wheezing
Treating allergies in young children
Treatment depends on the type of allergy. The doctor may recommend the following:
- Change in diet
- Pills or liquids called antihistamines to ease rashes or a runny nose
- Inhalers to use when your child has trouble breathing
- An EpiPen for emergency treatment of a life-threatening reactions (allergic reaction to peanuts for example)
Common food allergies
- Cow’s milk
- Nuts from trees (like almonds, cashews, and walnuts)
- Shellfish (like crab, lobster, and shrimp)
When are food allergies dangerous?
Food allergies can cause sudden and severe life-threatening symptoms.
For example, your child might have extreme trouble breathing and a sharp drop in blood pressure that can cause shock. Signs of trauma include pale, clammy skin and dizziness. This type of reaction is called anaphylaxis. You should seek medical care right away if you notice any of these signs.
What if my child has a food allergy?
If your child is diagnosed with a food allergy, they are usually advised to stay away from the problem food, even tiny amounts of it. Be sure to check all food labels for hidden ingredients, like peanut oil, and take care when ordering meals at restaurants. Some children outgrow a food allergy. But for others, the allergy may stay.
How to prevent food allergies?
The best way to prevent food allergies is to expose your child to a wide variety of foods early on. Children in Israel for example have much less often peanuts allergies because one of the most popular snacks for kids are peanut cracker which almost all young children eat.
Dust mite allergies
Stuffed animals, bed sheets and an old couch can all be home of dust mites that trigger an allergic reaction. These mites collect in soft, cozy places like plush toys and pillows. Mold, cigarette smoke, and perfume also can trigger indoor allergies in kids. About 1 in every 6 kids has an indoor allergy. Symptoms are the same as seasonal allergies and include a runny, stuffy nose and sneezing.
What to do about dust mites allergies?
- Sweep and vacuum regularly
- Use allergen-proof covers for mattresses, bed sheets and pillows
- Wash linens every 2 weeks in hot water and dry them in a hot dryer or outside in the sun
- Place soft toys in a sealable bag and put it in the freezer for at least 5 hours once a week. This kills dust mites
- Don’t use humidifiers and vaporizers. They add moisture to the air and increase the risk of mold and dust mites
Pets can make some children sniffle and sneeze. Cats are often the problem, but dogs can cause allergy problems, too.
Dr. Piyawut Kreetapirom, MD. (1 July 2020)