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Back to School Tips for Kids With Allergies

Back to School Tips for Kids With Allergies

With school back in session, there’s so much to think about – new classrooms, teachers, and potentially more homework than the year before. And if your kids have allergies, you have even more to consider than other parents. With a little extra planning, your kids can have a great school year, without letting allergies disrupt their day.

Dr. Rafiquddin S. Rahimi, of Allergy Relief Clinics in Richardson, Texas, recommends the following back-to-school tips for kids with allergies:

Know your child’s allergy triggers and how to manage them.

Nearly 6 million children in the U.S. have food allergies, and seasonal allergies affect about 40% of school-aged kids. Allergies not only get in the way of learning and concentration during a long day in the classroom, but they can also lead to emergency situations if your child and their teachers aren’t careful. Knowing what triggers your child’s allergies and how to manage their symptoms is imperative for keeping your child comfortable and safe at school.

If you don’t know the exact cause of your children’s allergies, make an appointment with Dr. Rahimi to get them tested as soon as possible. When you know the triggers and the severity of a potential allergic reaction, you can prepare faculty and the school nurse ahead of time and equip your child or staff members with necessary medications.

Common food allergy triggers include:

Other allergy triggers commonly include:

While insect bites may not be as common in the fall as they are in spring and summer months, if your child is allergic to them, it’s always a good idea to remain vigilant any time of year.

Any of these triggers can cause symptoms that make it hard for children to stay focused at school. Once you understand their triggers, you can create a treatment plan that teachers and school nurses can follow as necessary.

You can also be proactive in keeping triggers away from your children whenever possible. For example, most schools have “peanut-free zones” in the cafeteria, so if your child’s nut allergies are severe, you can make sure they don’t come in contact with nuts, while eating lunch at school. Or, for example, if your child is particularly sensitive to ragweed pollen, send an extra set of clothes to school so they can change after outdoor recess.

Know what’s in bloom during fall months

In the fall, the greater Dallas area experiences “weed season” in which ragweed pollen is one of the most predominant allergens your kids face each day on their way to and from school, or anytime they’re outdoors. An abundance of ragweed pollen this time of year can lead to increased asthma symptoms, rhinitis (hay fever), and worsening eczema skin irritations.

Ragweed pollen can also cause conjunctivitis – commonly known as pinkeye.

Additional seasonal allergens that appear in abundance in the Dallas area from September through November, include:

Beyond this list of severe allergens, cedar elm, sugar-berry trees, and alfalfa are among the other culprits that may trigger more moderate allergy symptoms. If you’re not sure which allergies pose the biggest threat to your children, Dr. Rahimi can test them to find out.

Take medications before going to school.

If your child gets a runny nose or itchy, watery eyes this time of year, as is common with ragweed pollen, be sure to give them any preventive medications before they leave for school each morning. Taking allergy medication in the morning can oftentimes help keep seasonal allergy symptoms at bay for the duration of their school day.

If your child takes prescription allergy medications, administering them before they go to school whenever possible can help eliminate interruptions in throughout their day.

Create an allergy emergency action plan.

If your child has a severe allergy, make sure you have an action plan that you can share with teachers and the school nurse so they know what to do to help your child in the event of an urgent situation. For example, if they need an inhaler or an epinephrine auto-injector (sometimes referred to by its brand name EpiPen®) for a severe allergic reaction, be sure all the staff members at the school who spend time with your child know what to do and how to use them. Having an action plan in place before it’s ever needed gives you and your child peace of mind that they’ll get the care they need, as time is often of the essence when it comes to an allergic reaction.

Make sure everyone is on the same page.

Does your child understand their allergies and what could trigger them? Once they’re old enough to go to school on their own, you should educate them on their triggers. If it’s a food allergy, help them recognize which foods are safe to eat and which ones they should avoid. Remind kids not to share food with one another, as they may not know all the ingredients.

It’s also a good idea to meet with the school nurse, administrator, and teachers, too. That way, everyone who spends time with your child at school knows what to expect and how to help them. It may even be as simple as letting teachers know your child may rub their eyes or blow their nose frequently. Letting staff know it isn’t a cold, but seasonal allergies, may help them be more tolerant, too.

Allergies are manageable when you understand what to avoid, what to do in an emergency, and how to prevent symptoms. If you need help managing your child’s allergies this fall, please call our office to schedule a comprehensive allergy testing evaluation. Or feel free to use our convenient online booking tool.

Author
Allergy Relief Clinics

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