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Kids' Allergies: Schoolwork Can Suffer

Children's Allergy Symptoms Interfere With School, Sports, and More, Survey Shows

Helping Kids With Allergies

Meltzer says that one finding that sticks out in his head is that 67% of parents said their kids' school performance isn't as good as it can be when their symptoms are bothersome, while 97% said they do well when symptoms are minimal.

"This means these kids are functioning at about two-thirds the level they should be in school," he says.

"There's a ripple effect. We have children whose overall health is compromised. We have children whose sleep is compromised. And we have children whose daytime activities are compromised," Meltzer says.

The good news, he says, is that the cycle can be broken with proper diagnosis and treatment by a doctor.

Asriani  M. Chiu, MD, a pediatric allergist at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee who was not involved with the survey, says that many parents trivialize allergy symptoms, "thinking they are normal. But they are not. Parents need to bring these symptoms up with their child's doctor."

Meltzer says parents shouldn't try to intervene on their own, as many over-the-counter antihistamines used to treat allergies cause drowsiness. "This is like adding insult to injury, as allergies are already preventing a good night's sleep," he says.

His advice to parents: observe your kids over several days. "If they have a runny or stuffed-up nose, sneezing fits, and other symptoms that persist for five or seven days, it's probably not a cold. Seek care. If the symptoms are interfering with your kids' activities, seek care," he says.

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