Tips and Tools: Allergies in kids
Allergies are one of the most common chronic conditions in children. There is good evidence to suggest that there are genetic and environmental factors that contribute to the development of allergies. Children of parents who are allergic have a 50% chance of developing allergies. Factors that can increase a child's chance of developing allergies may include:
- formula feedings
- low birth weight
- early exposure to smoke or animals
Children with allergies can feel all of the allergy symptoms that an adult can. Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, is quite common in children and causes symptoms such as a runny, itchy nose; watery, red, itchy eyes; and ear problems.
For young children, allergy symptoms can be very upsetting. If children are unable to verbalize their discomfort, their frustration may result in behavior changes. A child who is irritable, has temper tantrums or shows a decreased ability to concentrate at school or at home may be suffering from allergies. When allergies are properly managed, allergy symptoms as well as any behavior changes caused by the symptoms should improve.
To improve a child's quality of life, reduce days off school, and reduce days off work for parents, it is important to identify and treat children's allergies as early as possible.