Learning that your child has allergies can be overwhelming. You may struggle with figuring out what the next steps are, or you may be scared that they’re going to be accidentally exposed and be hurt.
Allergies can be difficult to manage, but with a little dedication and due diligence, there’s a lot you can do to make sure your child stays safe. This article is going to discuss what allergies are or may look like, along with potential treatment plans. It’s also going to cover what you can do in an emergency to keep your child safe.
Allergies are a bodies exaggerated response to a trigger. They see a completely innocent substance and view it as not only foreign but as something that must be attacked and eliminated. A normal person may pet a cat and experience nothing, but the immune system of a person with allergies petting the same cat reacts in such a way that it could send them into an emergent state where they may need medical care.
The trigger or triggers can be varied, but the common allergens are found in plants, animals, and foods. It’s also possible to be allergic to things like sunlight, cold, and dust. These last examples require close observation of a child, but they don’t automatically exclude your child from being able to experience some of the typical childhood experiences.
The type of treatment required for an allergy depends on what the person is allergic to and how seriously their immune system is responding. Let’s take dogs for example. If the person’s reaction to dogs is severe enough for them to require medical help each time they come in contact, then the best option is to avoid dogs. Alternatively, if their response is fairly mild, then they may only need to limit their interactions.
Other treatment options can include medications, some of which are available at your local drug store. You may also be able to participate in something called exposure therapy. This is done under the direction of a doctor and involves slowly re-introducing the trigger to the person so that the immune system learns how to handle it appropriately.
It is common for children to want a pet. When they are allergic to pet hair or dander, this can make denying them heartbreaking. But there are lots of allergy-friendly pets available if you are willing to open your mind. On the more traditional front, there are hypoallergenic dogs such as a Goldendoodles and cats like the Siberian cat breed. Less traditional, but 100% hypoallergenic alternatives include reptiles like a bearded dragon or corn snake, fish, and even invertebrates like a millipede or Chilean rosehair tarantula.
Sometimes, allergic reactions are so severe that they may require immediate medical intervention. The frontline response for this situation is something called an epi-pen. It is loaded with epinephrine, which can help stop the reaction and can be injected directly through clothing into the child’s thigh. This is usually part of a kit that is carried with the child and kept at common locations, like school. After the injection, you should still see an ER to make sure there are no lingering effects and your child is stable.
Some other ways to help out in emergencies are to teach your child about their condition. It’s not something they should be scared of, otherwise, they may freeze up in an emergency situation. They can also wear a medical alert bracelet so that others know about the condition.
As you can see, while allergies may have serious consequences, they are no reason for a child to hide in their home every day petrified of going out. There are plenty of strategies available to help you prevent an allergic reaction, as well as a number of protocols in place for when an emergency situation occurs. You should continue to reinforce these points to your child so that they are able to better prepare themselves for successfully living with a chronic condition.
Did you find this article useful? Check out some of our other recent parenting articles for more helpful tips!