Back to School Allergy Checklist

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Back to school is an exciting time! But an allergic reaction can quickly turn that exciting time into a dire situation. Allergies can affect every person differently; while one person might have a mild reaction to an allergen, someone else may experience severe symptoms- this is why allergy management is so important.

While mild allergies are an inconvenience and require treatment to provide long-term solutions, severe allergies can be life-threatening. Severe allergic reactions can result in the swelling of throat and lungs, causing allergic asthma or anaphylaxis.

Allergic asthma is the most common type of asthma, and 90% of kids with childhood asthma have allergies. Allergic asthma occurs when the tiny structures in your lungs become inflamed from an allergic reaction, causing them to swell and restrict airflow. The same allergens that cause sneezing fits and watery eyes in some, can cause an asthma attack in others. Allergy triggers for allergic asthma can include dust mites, windblown pollen from trees, grasses & weeds, mold spores & fragments, and animal dander. Risks can increase when your child is physically active outdoors because irritants such as air pollution, cold air, chemicals, and dust can also trigger an asthma attack. If your child suffers from allergic asthma, make sure they have a rescue inhaler with them at all times and know how to use it.

Anaphylaxis occurs when the allergic swelling is so bad that your throat closes, preventing air from getting through. Common allergy triggers for this condition include insect bites or stings, exercise, foods and medications. The risk factors for anaphylaxis increase during outdoor activities, due to outdoor allergy triggers and physical activity. Anaphylaxis is only treated with an epinephrine auto-injector, which is used in allergic reactions beyond food allergies. If your child suffers from severe allergies, make sure their school has an epipen ready in the case of an emergency.

It’s easy to keep an eye on your child and restrict where they play, what they play with, eat, or drink when they’re at home, but it’s not so easy when they leave. Whether they’re going to daycare or high school, you should prepare your child, your child’s teachers, and yourself with a few allergy safety strategies.

Before school starts, begin your child’s allergy management with an allergy test. If your child has recurrent symptoms including itchy or watery eyes, congestion, sneezing or an itchy throat that last longer than 2-weeks, your child should be allergy tested. This allows your doctor to discover your child’s allergy triggers and create a course of treatment. Common allergens that your child may come in contact with include latex, chalk, dust, pollen, fabrics or even fiber in school uniforms. It is important to note that allergies can develop at any time, so your child’s allergies should be reevaluated before the beginning of each school year.

Once you know your child’s allergies, have a serious conversation with them about avoiding harmful triggers and allergens. Some measures you & your child can take to prevent dangerous allergic reactions include wearing allergy bracelets, recognizing the symptoms and knowing what to do if a reaction occurs, and learning to use an epinephrine auto-injector for severe reactions. Severe allergic reactions require immediate medical attention, so have a plan with your child if that were to occur. It’s also important to talk with your child’s teachers about their allergies at the beginning of each school year. The sooner the teachers, school nurses & administrators know about your child’s allergies and how they can help, the better.

If your child cannot avoid their allergens, sublingual immunotherapy may be the easiest course of treatment. Sublingual immunotherapy, or allergy drops, is a customized allergy treatment to treat your triggers over time. It’s ideal for treating your child’s or your own allergies during the school year because it can be done at home and is pain-free!

If you’re ready to finally find a long-term solution for your, or your child’s, allergies, the first step is to be allergy tested. Make an appointment today with Dr. Pasha to learn about your or your child’s treatment options. We’ll have you both breathing freely in no time!