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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.

Develop an Asthma & Allergy Action Plan continued...

You also need to speak with the teachers, coaches, and nurses at your child’s school. The idea is to let them know about your child’s allergies and the signs he or she might exhibit at the start of an attack.

Teach your child to recognize the symptoms of allergies and to know when to take medication. For instance, your child may need to learn to take his or her medicine before exercise or exposure to animals to prevent allergy symptoms.

Different states have different laws about which medications children are allowed to carry and use in school. You can find out what the laws are in your state by contacting the Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics. If your state doesn’t allow children to carry and take their own medication, be sure you work with the school. That way you can ensure your child will have access to medications when they are needed.


Children’s Allergies and Sports

Childhood allergy symptoms do not usually keep a child from playing sports. They can, though, make playing sports less fun. And in some cases, sports can even be dangerous for children with severe allergies or allergic asthma.

Frank Virant, MD, tells WebMD that pollens, cold air, dry air, and prolonged activity -- more than 5 minutes without a break -- can all be triggers for children with allergic asthma and exercise asthma. Virant is an allergist at Seattle’s Northwest Asthma & Allergy Center. He is also a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics section on Allergy & Immunology. “But,” says Virant, “appropriate premedication can allow most children to participate in whatever they want to do.”

There are also certain sports and activities that may be less likely to prompt allergy symptoms and asthma problems. For instance, sports played in cold and dry places (think ice hockey or skiing) are more likely to cause exercise-induced asthma than sports in warm and humid environments. Sports like football, volleyball, or golf mix periods of rest with being active. That may make them better for someone with asthma than a sport like cross country or basketball. Whether or not swimming is a good sport depends on whether or not your child has an allergic reaction to the chemicals in the pool.

Childhood Allergies: Field Trips, Sleepovers and Travel

Field trips can be challenging for children with allergies to pollen or animal dander. Work with your child’s allergist ahead of time. That way, you and your child will both know what the best preventive medication is and what to do if allergy symptoms arise.

Sleeping over at a friend’s house where there are pets can also be challenging for a child allergic to dander. Make sure your child takes medication ahead of time in order to prevent allergy symptoms. Also, you need to make sure your child can recognize serious or life-threatening symptoms and knows when to seek help.

Travel presents a variety of challenges for children with allergies. Dust mites or mold are often found in carpeting in cars and hotel rooms. Allergy symptoms can arise anytime, anywhere. So it’s important that you or your child always have allergy medication at hand. That includes keeping it in a carry-on bag onboard an airplane.

When you do these things and have a plan in place to treat symptoms promptly if they occur, your child will be able to have fun and safe times away from home.

Reviewed on December 18, 2008

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