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How to Manage Allergies in Kids

Monday, May 16, 2016 12:36 PM

While it’s more common for children to develop allergies when there is a family history of it, anyone can have them. Ewa Schafer, MD, Allergist at NorthShore, believes that controlling allergy symptoms in a child’s life allows parents and doctors to help improve their quality of life.


If you suspect that your child has allergies, take note of what the symptoms are, when they occur and what you think causes them before making an appointment with an allergist. This will help you and your child’s doctor explore what kind of allergies that your child may have.

Once you find out what kind of allergies your child has, Dr. Schafer suggests these tips to make life more manageable:

  • Pack your own food. If your child has food allergies bring lunches, desserts and snacks wherever you go so there is always a safe food to help avoid hunger and meltdowns.
  • Plan ahead, including for vacations. Do some research on your vacation destination before you go: will pollen counts be high, will you be staying with family that has a pet your child is allergic to? Your allergist can help you have a plan for avoidance and treatment.
  • Be careful with pets. If you have a pet already but know your child is allergic, try frequent baths and grooming. Keep the pets off the couches and out of their room. Consider using a HEPA filter. If avoidance measures do not control the allergies, see if a family member or friend can adopt the pet so visits are welcomed.
  • Lock pollen out. Keeping windows shut and air on is a great way to keep pollen out of the house. Wash your child’s hair every night before bed so they don’t bring any pollen to their pillowcase. Also make sure your family leaves their shoes in the garage or on the front stoop. If you have a pet keep in mind that they bring pollen into the home on their fur/hair.
  • Think of alternative outdoor activities. Instead of playing at the park on days with a very high pollen count, take your child to the library, a museum or an indoor playground.
  • Encourage play dates at home. If allergies are too severe or you’re still learning to manage them, suggest sleepovers and play dates at your house. Talk to the parents of your child’s friends to explain why you’d prefer to have them over.
  • Plan your errands. Pollen counts are highest between 5 – 10 a.m. so plan your morning activities, board games and chores indoors early in the day and have your outside fun later in the day.
  • Keep an eye out for asthma. While not everyone with allergies will develop asthma, some will. If your child develops a cough, wheezing or difficulty with physical activity make sure to talk to your doctor.

The best weapon against allergies is having a plan. An allergist can help you create a plan so you and your child can control allergy symptoms and enjoy life.