According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since 1997 the number of American children diagnosed with childhood allergies has been steadily increasing.
These allergies can be food-related (nuts, dairy, soy, etc.), animal-related (e.g., dog and cat hair), or just be part of the environment (dust, mold, grass). And they can affect a child's skin, respiration and sinus passages.
Being allergic to anything is tough for anyone, but it is especially trying for children and their parents. Some allergies are so severe that a child's exposure to an allergen could lead to a life or death situation. Knowing how to deal with childhood allergies is of upmost importance.
5 Steps to Fighting Childhood Allergies
Step 1) Know what the child is allergic to.
This sounds simple but actually having a child see an allergist for testing is one of the most important things a parent can do. There are two types of tests: skin testing and blood testing.
Skin testing is the most preferred method, and the least expensive, but blood testing for allergies is sometimes done for specific reasons.
For instance, if a child has poorly controlled asthma, can't take the numerous skin pricks, or is taking medicine that would interfere with a skin test, then a blood test may be considered.
The best advice is to listen to the child's doctor and go with what is recommended. Remember that food allergies and seasonal allergies are often treated differently.
Step 2) Take the results seriously.
When a child has an allergy to a specific item or items, this information should be taken seriously and the child's environment should be altered.
If nuts are an issue, no one in the house should eat anything with nuts in them, or maybe you can keep any products with nuts in a special cupboard children can not get into.
If dust is a provoking allergen, looking into a vacuum cleaner with a top-of-the-line air filter might be a good idea.
Step 3) Tell people around the child about the allergy.