If your child has been sneezing or coughing, and these symptoms appear to come and go quickly, then your child may have allergies. Allergies not only cause discomfort, but they can develop to be life-threatening. It's important to recognize your child's allergies as soon as possible so that you can prepare for treatment and avoidance. Here are some signs that your child might have an allergy and some things you can do to make your child more comfortable.
Common Allergies in Children
Anything that can be touched, eaten, or inhaled can be a potential allergen, but children tend to be sensitive to some things more than others. It's not unusual for children to be allergic to foods such as peanuts as well as pet dander, pollen, dust mites, cigarette smoke, and perfume.
Symptoms of Allergies
Infants and very young children may show different signs of an allergic reaction, such as a rash or coughing, compared to older children. Older children often show symptoms similar to a cold with sneezing and watering, swollen eyes. Some children also cough and have shortness of breath along with a rash or stomachache. Many children will have dark circles under their eyes as well.
Tracking Down Your Child's Allergies
It's important to keep track and document the time and severity of symptoms in order to narrow down the allergen. If it occurs not long after a meal, then it could be a food allergy. If it happens when your child is exposed to animals or soon after you've gotten a new pet, then it could be animal dander. Narrowing the allergy down helps when it comes to getting your child tested to determine the exact cause.
Treating and Preventing Allergic Reactions
While it is impossible to control everything in your child's environment, avoiding the allergen as much as possible is the best way to alleviate symptoms. This may include giving up a favorite food or even a pet. Desensitizing allergy shots are also another option, though they do not work for all children. If the allergy is mild, then your pediatrician may prescribe antihistamines to help alleviate the discomfort.
Any child can develop allergies, but they are more likely to have them if a parent has them. Some allergies can worsen over time and lead to life-threatening conditions like asthma or anaphylaxis. In some cases, allergies may go away or improve on their own, but new allergies could develop later. Because allergies can be life-threatening, it's important that your child sees a pediatrician to get an accurate diagnosis.
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