What is an allergy?
An allergy is an immune reaction to a substance in the environment called an allergen. When a child with allergies comes into contact with an allergen, either by touching, breathing, eating, or having it injected her body mistakenly views it as a dangerous invader and releases histamines and other chemicals to fight it off.
These chemicals irritate the body and cause symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, itching, and coughing. Symptoms can be mild or more severe.
What causes nasal allergies in children?
• Dust mites
• Animal dander
• Pollen, particularly from trees, grass, and weeds
• Mold – fungi found in wet, damp places such as bathrooms and basements or outdoors in humid climates.
How can I figure out what my child is allergic to?
It takes some careful detective work and sometimes the help of medical tests to pinpoint the exact cause of an allergy. One clue may be when the allergy attacks occur.
Mold allergies usually develop during damp or rainy weather and dust mites or pet allergies often cause morning congestion throughout the year. Pollen-related allergies are more common during dry weather.
How can I protect my child from allergies?
• Wash bedding once a week in hot water to kill dust mites.
• Avoid piling up stuffed animals in your child’s room; they’re dust-mite magnets. Wash a few favorites your child can’t live without in hot water weekly.
• If your bathroom is a mold factory, clean it regularly with mold-inhibiting disinfectants, such as a little bleach and water or a natural solution like tea tree oil and water.
• If your child is allergic to a pet, the only foolproof solution is to give the animal away. That’s not an easy decision to make but it is the best decision.