About 9.4 million American children have skin allergies. Another 7.1 million are allergic to pollen. And 3.4 million have food allergies. Different kids are allergic to different things.
Print this checklist of allergy triggers. Then observe your child to see what triggers allergy symptoms. Once you think you've determined the source, ask the doctor about it. The doctor may suggest a skin test. Then you can work with the doctor to limit your child’s exposure and develop a treatment plan.
___Dust mites. No matter how clean you keep your house, these tiny mites can find dust to feed on. The waste products they leave in your furniture, pillows, and curtains are one of the most common allergy triggers.
___Pet dander. Dog and cat hair do not trigger allergies. It’s the dander, tiny bits of skin and saliva, that pets shed along with their fur that spur allergic reactions.
___Mold. Mold grows in damp conditions. When things dry out, mold spores travel on wind or air currents. Summer is the most active time for mold allergies, but this trigger never really sleeps. Mold allergies can flare up in any season.
___Pollen from trees, grass, and weeds. Each year, plants release pollen in a predictable order: trees in the early spring, grass in late spring, and ragweed in the fall. An allergy to one plant’s pollen does not mean your child is allergic to all kinds.
___Cockroaches. When these pests move in, they leave tiny bits of themselves around your home. The reaction might be itchy skin, red, itchy eyes, or an itchy throat that persists throughout the year. Place a roach trap in the corners of your kitchen, behind the fridge, or other places where food-crumbles collect to find out if you have roaches.
Serious Food Allergy Triggers
___Milk. Milk is the most common food allergy in children. It can cause hives, wheezing, and vomiting. Besides dairy, milk proteins are in surprising foods, including some canned tuna fish, sports drinks, and even chewing gum. Check food labels for casein or whey, two milk proteins.