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Should Allergies Keep Your Child at Home?

Practical advice on how to keep allergies from interfering with your child’s life.

Allergy Medicines and Treatments for Children’s Allergies

The best allergy treatment for your child depends on what kind of allergy symptoms your child has, and how severe they are. Options include a variety of over-the-counter and prescription medications. These include antihistamines, decongestants, and steroids. If your child has asthma, he or she may be treated with inhalers. These medicines provide relief by calming inflammation and opening air passages. All medications have possible side effects, so it’s important to work with your child’s doctor to find the right allergy medicines.

If the usual medications don’t provide enough relief for your child’s allergies, allergy shots -- immunotherapy -- may be considered. Allergy shots work by exposing someone to increasing amounts of an allergen, such as pollen or mold, over time. This makes the immune system less likely to react to the substance.

Allergens at School

Children can develop allergies to many different things. And there are some allergens that are often found in classrooms. These include:

  • Chalk dust. This allergen can cause asthma attacks in children with allergies and asthma. If your child is allergic to chalk dust, he or she should sit a good distance away from the board. Also tell your child to be sure to wash his or her hands right away after writing with chalk.
  • Dust mites. Tiny as they are, dust mites are public enemy number one when it comes to chronic symptoms of allergies and asthma. They thrive in humid environments. For that reason, air conditioning can help keep them at bay.
  • Mold. The spores produced by molds that grow in damp, dark places can be dangerous for children with allergies and asthma. Make sure the school practices proper clean-up procedures if mold occurs. The school should also promptly fix any leaks that occur.
  • Pet dander. Dander is the dead skin cells that are sloughed off by animals. It can cause some children to have uncomfortable symptoms, including itchy eyes and stuffy nose. A child with allergies may also develop skin rashes after touching certain animals. Caged classroom pets are not usually a problem for children who are allergic to dander they breathe in. But if your child is allergic to dander, be sure your child’s teacher knows it is not okay for your child to hold or help care for the classroom pet.
  • Pollen. Your child may be allergic to pollens produced by various plants. Open windows in the classroom may aggravate these allergies. Ask that windows be kept closed and air-conditioning used. Pollen allergies can also put a serious damper on recess and sports practice. Making sure your child takes the appropriate medicine ahead of time will help prevent watery eyes, stuffy nose, and other symptoms.

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