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How to protect your child from allergies

It is essential for parents to know what triggers their child’s allergy. After a certain age, as per the doctor’s advice, allergy tests can be conducted on the child to be sure of the exact cause.

New Delhi |
July 9, 2018 5:34:12 pm
allergies, food allergies, skin allergies, body allergies, sneezing, itchy nose and/or throat, stuffy nose, coughing, watery/red eyes, headache, indian express Keep your child safe from allergies

Allergies in children are a common phenomenon. While allergies are not curable, other than avoiding the allergen, there are several ways you can regulate it.

By Dr. Kakoli Acharyya

Typically, children mostly suffer from airborne and food allergies, while allergies from medicine, chemicals and insect bites occur occasionally. It is essential for parents to know what triggers their child’s allergy. After a certain age, as per the doctor’s advice, allergy tests can be conducted on the child to be sure of the exact cause. Though in most cases, symptoms of allergy are evident like sneezing, itchy nose and/or throat, stuffy nose, coughing, watery/red eyes, headache etc.

Almost every child suffers from cold leading to mild fever. Though cold goes away in a week or two, coughing, sneezing and sore throat can linger, pointing towards an allergy. Severe fever happens due to a cold virus, which can affect your child’s sinuses, throat, bronchial tubes, and ears. He/she may also have diarrhoea and vomiting in such cases. Constant sneezing, wheezing and coughing is caused from nasal allergies, especially pollen.

Common allergies

Indoor elements can also add to the condition, such as dust mites, indoor mould, pests like mice or cockroaches. In fact, house pets can also give allergies to children. An itchy skin condition is another symptom which often means eczema, hives or contact dermatitis. Some allergies like pollen are seasonal, while others are perennial like food allergy. The most common food allergies for kids are milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat, soy and tree nuts. It is advisable to stay away from such food items or any preparation that contains any of these ingredients.

Food and drinks: All fizzy drinks should be avoided. Fruit juice is an alternative but ensure that they are fresh and pure. Avoid packed juices, which usually contain preservatives. Ice-creams can be taken in moderation. However, don’t take ice-cream out of the freezer and consume right away.

Outdoor outings and vacations: Plan your outdoor ventures beforehand. Avoid pollen seasons.  Pack plenty of allergy medications. Use sunglasses and hats. Use a saline rinse or nasal spray to flush pollen out of the nasal and sinus cavities. Stay away from places with harsh weathers. Exposure to extreme cold often set of throat swelling and breathing problems

Washing up/ Baths: Always make sure that your child is taking proper baths and washing up after coming from the playground. Wash his/her hair thoroughly during bath as microscopic pollens tend to get stuck there.
Pets: In case if you already have a pet, then give your pet regular baths and combings to keep it clean thoroughly. Don’t let your children come too close to the pet/bird if he/she is allergic to it. Steer clear of animal fur as it is a known cause for allergies in children.

Recurrent colds

If your child catches cold viruses often, then its impact can be aggravated by various factors like additional allergens, fumes, smoke, etc. Hence, it is compulsory to avoid known allergens like dust, smoke, pet hair, perfumes, etc. As most of these are seasonal, doctor prescribed medicines reduce such allergies during the season. Frequent changing of bedsheets and pillowcases is a must. Ban all kinds of harmful fumes at home, from insect repellents to certain agarbattis. It is recommended that parents and relatives smoke outside the house, and always change clothes before coming to see the child. Never skip any doctor prescribed vaccinations and medication.

(The writer is from Department of Paediatrics – CK Birla Hospitals, CMRI)

Dr. Kakoli Acharyya, Department of Paediatrics – CK Birla Hospitals, CMRI

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