Allergies in Kids: What to Watch for, and How to Treat Them
By Sarah Parker Ward
If your kid comes down with sneezing and coughing, your first instinct may be to think they have a cold. But you should also consider the possibility that they are having an allergic reaction. To what? Well, allergies in children can be the result of heredity – something in the genes passed to them from each parent – or child allergies can develop from exposure to an allergen when the immune system is already weakened, like following an infection.
Allergy triggers: What causes allergies?
Keep in mind that kids’ allergy symptoms can range from mild to severe, and they can worsen with each exposure to an allergen, also called an “allergy trigger,” so if you suspect an allergy, stay alert if your child comes into contact with these common causes of allergies:
- Outdoor allergies: Pollens from trees, grasses, and weeds can cause allergy symptoms outside. Insect stings can also cause severe allergic reactions.
- Indoor allergies: The top indoor allergy triggers are pet dander, dust mites, and mold.
- Food allergies: Often causing the most severe symptoms, common food allergy triggers are nuts, cow's milk, eggs, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish.
Allergy symptoms in kids
Based on the stats, the odds are still good that your child doesn’t have an allergy – whew! – but if you’re still worried, here are some of the most common child allergy symptoms to look for:
- Sneezing, itchy eyes and nose, runny nose
- Upset stomach or diarrhea
- Rash or hives
- Coughing or trouble breathing
Allergy testing for kids
You’ve probably heard about the growing “epidemic” of child allergies: roughly one in five kids in the U.S. now has some type of allergy. In fact, allergies are considered the No. 1 chronic disease in American children. If you’re concerned that your child has an allergy, the best way to confirm your suspicions is to see an allergist and undergo child allergy testing. Allergy testing for children may include a skin test, where the allergist pricks the skin with a small amount of the potential allergy trigger to see if a rash develops. The allergist also may perform a blood test to look for allergy-causing antibodies.
Allergy medicine for kids
While more severe food or insect sting allergies may require prescription medication, the good news is that most children’s seasonal or environmental allergy symptoms can be treated at home with over-the-counter kids’ allergy medicine.
Children's ZYRTEC® Dissolve Tabs or Allergy Syrup are allergy medicines for children ages 2 and up, and only have to be taken once a day (note: These medications can cause drowsiness, so you might want to dose your kids at bedtime!). If your child is over age 6, a convenient non-drowsy option is Children's RHINOCORT®, a once-a-day nasal spray that provides nasal symptom relief (note: your child shouldn't use it for longer than two months a year without consultation from your doctor.
A bit of extra TLC and a dose of kids’ allergy medicine, and your little one is going to be feeling good as new!
Third-party references and links provided in this article are for educational purposes only. No sponsorship or endorsement is implied. Information was used from the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Healthy Children and Mayo Clinic.
©Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2017