Hudson Valley pediatrics

Suggested title: Does My Child Have Allergies?

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, about 1 in 3 American children are affected by allergies. Even minor allergies can make your child miserable, leading to sleepless nights and a harder time learning, growing, and enjoying childhood. More serious allergies may require lifestyle changes and medical care at pediatrics in Hudson Valley pediatrics.

What Are Allergies?

Sometimes, when the body comes in contact with something irritating (for example, pollen), the immune system overreacts. It tries to attack these irritants with antibodies and chemicals like histamine. This leads to the development of allergy symptoms.

Causes and Symptoms

What causes allergies? It seems to be a combination of genetics and the environment. Allergies may run in families, with everyone getting hay fever in the spring. However, the environment also plays a role. Children may inhale, eat, or touch a wide variety of allergens. Over time, the short-term irritation they experience may grow into a full-blown allergy.

Potential irritants are everywhere around us, from the air we breathe to the food we eat. However, some allergens are more common than others. If your child has allergies, some likely culprits include:

  • pollen
  • dust mites
  • mold
  • pet dander
  • cow’s milk
  • shellfish
  • peanuts
  • strongly scented detergents
  • bee and wasp stings
  • plants like poison ivy

Symptoms of allergies vary, depending on what is causing the allergy and how sensitive the child is to this irritant. Common symptoms may include:

  • breathing difficulties like asthma
  • coughing and sneezing
  • runny nose or raspy breathing from mucus in the throat
  • itchy, red eyes
  • rashes on the skin like eczema
  • upset stomach
  • diarrhea

What Can Be Done About Allergies?

If you suspect your child has allergies, your first stop is a visit to a Hudson Valley pediatrics center. The pediatrician will examine your child and talk to you about what has been happening. You may be referred to a specialist like an allergist for more testing.

Once the specific allergy has been pinpointed, you can take action. The most effective approach is to both reduce your child’s exposure to their specific allergy triggers and to manage symptoms as they happen. Your pediatrician will tailor strategies and medications to each child. These might include:

  • banning peanuts from the diet
  • keeping pets outdoors and cleaning the house to remove all traces of dander
  • symptom-reducing medications like antihistamines and decongestants
  • injected or inhaled steroids
  • specialized treatments that deliberately introduce the child to small amounts of the allergen, so his body gets used to it and doesn’t react as strongly

Allergies can be miserable for both your child and the whole family. However, with a little knowledge and the appropriate medical care, you can keep your kid feeling well.