Allergy Treatment Options for Children
It’s a harsh fact of life that there’s no magic wand when it comes to childhood allergies. Medical treatments options are relatively limited and prevention is still more likely to be effective than cure. So keeping potential allergens at bay is still a key strategy. In the home, at school and whenever you’re out and about, it’s important to plan ahead and think about how you can best avoid your child’s triggers. Of course, if all else fails, there are some other options. Talking to your family doctor or allergy specialist will help you find out what might be right for your child, but here’s an overview of the three routes to managing allergies: avoidance, medication and immunotherapy.
Avoiding Potential AllergensOf course, how to avoid an allergy trigger depends entirely on what your child is allergic to. It might sound obvious, but some parents with an allergic child panic, and start banning potential allergens here, there and everywhere, when there’s no evidence that it’s going to help. There’s no need to go crazy buying specialist bedding or steam cleaning carpets if your child isn’t allergic to dust mites. And there’s little point in scrutinising every morsel that ever goes in their mouth if they’ve never shown signs of a particular food allergy. So, if you’ve recently discovered that your child has an allergy, take a few deep breaths and think calmly about what you really need to eliminate or control and how best to do it with minimum disruption to your child’s daily life. Here are just a few examples.
Pollen allergy? Don’t let your child into the garden when you’re mowing the lawn, and keep doors and windows closed when the pollen count is really high. It’s usually at its worst in the morning and on windy days.
Food allergy? Become a label detective and read everything. Educate yourself on alternative names for the potential allergen.
Dust mite allergy? Damp dust on a daily basis and wash bedding, cuddly toys and blankets on a hot wash.
Medication for Children with AllergiesIf avoidance really isn’t doing the trick, your doctor might suggest giving your child medication. Decongestants are fairly commonly used. You can give them orally, or you might get prescribed a spray, which can be efficient at unblocking bunged up noses and sinuses.
Antihistamines block histamine, the substance responsible for the symptoms of an allergic reaction. They can relieve mild to moderate symptoms, but can cause drowsiness, so they’re not necessarily a great choice for school age children or for kids who just want to get out and play.
Where medication is concerned, it’s essential that you talk to your doctor or pharmacist and don’t just give your child the same over-the-counter remedy you might take for your own hay fever. You must find out from the experts what’s right for your child.
Immunotherapy for Allergy SufferersJust like a vaccination, immunotherapy involves giving shots of the danger substance. This is thought to desensitise the sufferer, so that the symptoms of allergy aren’t so bad. The treatment begins with injections on a daily basis, starting with a very tiny amount of the allergen, and building up. Maintenance injections are then given over longer and longer gaps, until the sufferer is only getting one injection every month or so. Be aware that this is not a quick fix solution and it’s not right for everyone. It can take up to six months to show real results. Discuss with your family doctor or allergy specialist whether this route might be right for your child.
Dodge the DangerProbably every parent would love to give their child a ‘miracle’ injection that would banish allergies for good. But, at the moment, that’s simply not going to happen. The main factor in avoiding allergic reactions remains common sense. Banning trigger substances, being aware of reactions and logging what causes allergic symptoms in your child are all crucial steps.
Above all, keep in contact with the medical professionals in working out what’s right for your child. Never try to diagnose an allergy yourself, and ask your doctor before giving your child any medication.