Unfortunately, little ones aren't immune from the sometimes troubling side effects of allergies. They too get sniffles, itchy eyes, and nasty coughs. Here are some of the latest statistics regarding this often annoying health condition:
The world is unfortunately full of dozens of types of allergens -- substances that trigger allergic reactions in the body. These include:
Pollen: This fine, reproductive "powder" from vegetation, which travels easily on a light breeze, is a common allergy trigger. The pollen that usually results in allergy symptoms comes from different trees, grasses, and weeds. In early spring, tree pollen (oak, elm, birch, hickory, polar, maple, and walnut trees) accounts for most of the pollen activity. Pollen from timothy, Bermuda grass, orchard grass, and blue trees strikes in late spring and early summer. Ragweed, sagebrush, tumbleweed, and cockleweed pollen can irritate your child from late summer to early fall.
Generally, the pollen season lasts from February or March through October. But weather conditions can cause variations by region. Pollen counts are usually lower on rainy, wet days and higher on hot, dry, and windy days when the spores can travel more easily through the air.
Mold spores: These are another pesky problem for children with allergies. They're found almost everywhere -- in soil, vegetation, attics, basements, carpets, refrigerators, and more. Mold spores also travel by air and start appearing after the spring thaw. They're present almost year-round, but are especially prevalent in July in warm areas and in October in the cooler states.
Pet dander: Many kids also suffer from allergic reactions to the dry skin that flakes off the family cat or dog.
Food: Foods such as peanuts, eggs, and wheat are common allergy triggers.
Be sure to consult your pediatrician if you suspect your child is suffering from allergies. Once your doctor has confirmed that your child is allergic to certain substances, try taking these steps to minimize allergen exposure:
If symptoms persist or worsen, it may be time to consider taking your child to see a specialist. According to the AAAAI, you and your child should plan on seeing an allergist/immunologist if:
With a little preparation, medical care, and caution, you can help manage your child's allergy symptoms.
Source: The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Allergic
Reviewed 2/02 by Jane Forester, MD
Updated March 2010
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.