Allergies in Children: Identifying Triggers and Managing Symptoms

Children are little bacteria magnets. They pick up every possible germ in their path. The same is true for allergens since kids have never met an allergen they didn’t like. Whether it’s food, the environment, or pets, the list goes on and on. Parents must be on guard all the time. Common allergies in children: identifying triggers and managing symptoms.

What Are the Common Allergies in Children?

Allergies are our body mistakenly defending itself. When someone encounters an allergen, the body’s immune system attacks it with antibodies producing chemicals like histamines to fight off the “invader”. Consequently, the person has a reaction, namely, an allergic reaction.

Environmental Allergens

Environmental allergens include triggers like tree pollen, dust, grasses, and weeds.

This has come to be known as hay fever with seasonal symptoms like a runny nose, itchy eyes, and nasal congestion.

child blowing on a flower.

Food Allergens

Common food allergens include eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat, milk, fish, and shellfish, however, individuals can be allergic to almost any food. It is believed as many as six million children have food allergies in the US.

These triggers manifest as rashes, hives, and even life-threatening anaphylaxis where the child can go into shock.

Animal and Pet Allergens

Animal and pet allergens can include pet dander, feathers, urine, cockroaches, and mice.

Coughing, difficulty breathing, a rash, runny nose can be symptoms of this allergy.

Skin Allergens

Skin allergens can include laundry detergent, fabric softeners, soap, and synthetic materials.

Hives, eczema, and contact dermatitis are symptoms of skin allergies.

Additional Allergens

Other possible irritants that can bring on an allergy include the following:

  • Smoke
  • Mold
  • Dust mites
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Perfume
  • A car exhaust
  • Insect bites and bee stings

Get to Know Your Child’s Triggers

If your child has a reaction and develops an allergy, be aware of everything they have been exposed to recently. Has there been a seasonal change? Have they been playing outside a lot? Have they been spending a lot of time with pets? What have they recently eaten?

If you can’t determine the allergen causing the reaction, see our board-certified pediatricians for a series of allergy tests. Once you know the triggers, you can begin to manage your child’s symptoms and/or decide on the best treatment(s). 

Treatment for Allergies in Children

There are really only three ways to treat allergies:

  1. Avoidance
  2. Allergy shots (immunotherapy)
  3. Medicines

Guidelines for Parents

As a parent, you can help to minimize your child’s exposure to certain triggers.

  • Stay indoors during high pollen level days or windy days.
  • Modify your child’s diet.
  • Use allergen-free products in your home.
  • Keep all needed allergy medicines at your disposal like antihistamines, decongestants, nasal sprays. 
  • Keep up to date on allergy shots if needed.
  • Inform all your child’s caregivers/school of their allergies and emergency protocol as directed by our board-certified pediatricians (if needed).

Contact our board-certified pediatricians at (703) 330-3939 to schedule a pediatric allergy testing appointment in Manassas and Haymarket, VA or if your child’s allergies seem to get worse.