When it comes to allergies of any kind, kids suffer more than adults, with 40% of American kids diagnosed with allergies as opposed to 30% of adults. And these numbers have been steadily rising over the last few decades, especially when it comes to food allergies.
Here at our pediatric practice, Dr. Smita Tandon and her team specialize in childhood allergies, helping young patients in Fountain Valley, California, better navigate a world of potentially harmful substances. From pollen to peanuts, here’s what you should know about allergies and kids and what to watch out for.
If you’ve noticed the increasing precautions being taken in schools (or anywhere else where kids gather and eat) when it comes to food, it’s for good reason. Food allergies are on the rise among children, increasing by a whopping 50% between 1997 and 2011 alone. And food allergies can be very serious, sending someone in the US to an emergency room every three minutes.
While food may be an extraordinarily broad category, the fact is that 90% of food allergies among children boil down to eight categories:
Thankfully, most kids outgrow their food allergies, but while they’re active, these food allergies can present anything from a mild nuisance to a life-threatening reaction, including anaphylactic shock.
In general, your child’s reaction will develop within minutes (or up to two hours) after eating the offending food, and may include:
In severe cases of anaphylactic shock, multiple body systems are affected and you should seek emergency care right away.
If you notice any of the other symptoms in milder forms, please note what they ate and make an appointment to come see us so we can run some allergy tests.
More than 8% of kids suffer from allergic rhinitis, which can really wreak havoc during the spring months when pollen fills the air. But these allergies can crop up any time of year and stem from substances outside of seasonal irritants, such as dust, mold, pet dander, and even cockroaches.
The common thread in these airborne allergens are the reactions they cause in children, which include:
For the most part, we can manage these types of allergies with long-term and on-the-spot medications after we’ve done extensive testing to narrow down the field of allergens. While medications like antihistamines go a long way toward providing relief for your child, there are also many steps you can take on your own to minimize the impact of allergic rhinitis, such as at-home air filtration. We’d be happy to review the steps you can take to help ease your child’s symptoms when it comes to allergic rhinitis.
We want to address allergic reactions in your child’s skin because these are very common, and can come after exposure to any number of allergens, including but not limited to:
While we’ve addressed some of these allergens above and which categories they fall under, it’s worth noting that one of the biggest telltale signs that your child may have allergies are skin disorders, including:
Again, since these skin disorders are often caused by allergies, we need to perform allergy testing so that we can narrow down the culprits. You can do your part by noting the circumstances under which your child developed a reaction in their skin.
While insect stings are painful and bothersome at the best of times, for kids who are allergic, they can be downright dangerous. Luckily, only 0.4%-0.8% of kids experience insect sting anaphylaxis, which is a dangerous reaction that requires immediate care.
The reason why we bring up these allergies here, despite their very small numbers, is to illustrate that most reactions to insect bites and stings are perfectly normal and happen to most people, allergic or not. If your child develops hives, swelling, or a rash, feel free to give us a call, and we can counsel you on the appropriate action to take.
If your child is in distress, however, with severe cramping, problems breathing, swelling lips or tongue, or lightheadedness, call 9-1-1.
The best way to handle allergies in children is to have Dr. Tandon perform comprehensive allergy testing. Once she identifies your child’s triggers, we work with you to come up with the best strategy for managing their allergy problems. While allergies can’t be cured, there are many ways we can make your child’s life more comfortable.
If you’d like learn more about childhood allergies, please give us a call or use the online scheduling tool on this website to set up an appointment.