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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

To keep allergies from interfering with your child’s life, focus on being prepared. One of the best things you can do is develop an allergy action plan. If your child has asthma, you will also need an asthma action plan.

Nathaniel Horne, MD, says a common concern for parents of a child with asthma is upper respiratory infections. Horne is an allergist with Allergy and Asthma Medical in New York City. He tells WebMD that the number of viral respiratory infections tends to increase when children return to school and the weather gets colder. “Upper respiratory tract infections are a classic trigger of asthma,” he says. “So parents of children with asthma need to have a good asthma action plan.”

Horne says there is a good plan available from the American Lung Association. It’s important to work with your doctor to customize the action plan. A good plan should be written and include a range of essential information about your child. At the minimum, you need to include information about your child’s allergy triggers, medications, and when to contact emergency professionals. Once you have the plan, be sure it’s always in reach. Also give copies of the plan to the school so that everyone who takes care of your child knows the plan.

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.

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