Living with allergies is no easy task, and explaining allergies can be just as difficult; especially to kids. Getting sick when exposed to certain pollens or ingesting certain foods can range anywhere from an uncomfortable nuisance to a serious and life-threatening series of reactions.
Coughing, sneezing, the development of rashes, itchy eyes, and difficulty breathing are all symptoms of common allergies in varying degrees of severity. When these reactions occur, they can be cause for panic and a foundation for fear moving forward, regarding whatever their “triggers” may be. That is why it is critical to explain to your child the nature of their allergy so they can properly understand why they’ll be alright and how to live with it.
Typical children’s allergies include:
- Tree Pollen
- Certain Bug Bites
- Pet Dander
- Foods (peanuts, certain dairy products)
Start Simple and Early
For younger children, you’ll want to water down the information to make it as palatable as possible. They need to know that specific foods can simply make them sick and to avoid them. Pointing out these foods at the market, on television, or in books is a great way to create repetition and teach your child the names of these foods and what they look like. It’s important they know the basics of their allergies from an early age so they know to only accept foods from trusted adults and what to do should a reaction occur.
Calm is Key
Your child needs to learn that allergies to certain pets, foods, or bug bites are completely normal and nothing to be afraid of. Maintain a consistent and positive attitude when discussing these triggers to both stress the importance of avoiding them while conveying that they’re going to be completely all right.
Additionally, during a reaction, it is crucial that you stay calm. Children often mirror many of their responses to how you are reacting. If you maintain a controlled and calm demeanor, your child is more likely to do the same.
Take an Active Role
Modeling active attention to detail for your little one is a great way to enforce healthy, allergy-managing habits. Avoiding areas with bees, reading food labels, and paying attention to pet dander can all better equip your child for growing up with their allergy. Involve yourself in conversation by using “we” instead of “you”. Make a game out of pointing out “off limits” foods and include them in your grocery shopping.
Millions of children have moderate to severe allergies to one thing or another. Due to the potential danger of serious allergic reactions like asthma or anaphylaxis, your child must learn how to adapt and manage their allergies. This will only benefit them as they grow up. If your child is adequately informed and can understand their allergy, it also gives you peace of mind when they’re at school or at a friend’s house. Children’s allergies are extremely common. The better they understand them, ultimately, the safer they will be.
A Doctor Who Cares
Dr. Shukla specializes in pulmonology, including pediatric allergies. If you believe that your child may have allergies, or simply want a pediatric pulmonologist to review their case join our many satisfied patients and contact us today.