How Are Allergies Treated in Children?
You think your child has allergies, and you've gone on the search to find the trigger. Now what? Here's a guide to how allergies are treated in children.
Finding the right doctor
Mild allergies may be treated without many tests, but it’s best to have a good pediatrician on your side for other advice or to conduct allergy tests for unknown triggers. Allergists aren’t always covered under insurance, so look for a pediatrician with allergy experience or one with a good allergist recommendation. Many doctor and allergist locators are available online.
Eliminating and reducing triggers
Once you've found what’s causing your child’s allergies, it’s important to reduce or eliminate exposure. Dust, pet dander and seasonal irritants can get trapped indoors, so pay attention to bedding, window vents and drapes. No need to splurge on fancy or expensive air filters or machines, as research shows they don't make much difference from anti-allergy products or pillow and mattress encasements.
Repeated shots and doctor’s visits are high on almost every child’s list of things they hate. Although expensive, allergy shots can help save money in the long-term and eliminate allergy symptoms in as little as 18 months. Immunotherapy takes a lot of thought and should be done at the referral of your pediatrician, who may also point out low-cost options for those without insurance.
For most children, OTC medicines such as nasal sprays, decongestants or antihistamines can help reduce flare ups and control symptoms. Other times, a doctor may suggest prescription medications, which should be followed strictly and explained to your child. Make sure to read all labels carefully, as some medications may cause drowsiness or have different side effects in children.
It's best to teach children to spot triggers on their own and explain allergies - especially with food - to others. Children are often away from parents for a large part of the day, so knowing they’re informed reduces anxiety. Make sure your child, or other chaperones, carry maintenance or emergency medications and that they know your child's allergy action plan.