7 Helpful Pointers for Managing Kids’ Allergies at School

Bee stings, nuts, pollen, dust. To a kid with allergies, the world can seem like one big contagion. And a surprisingly large slice of our population suffers: some 50 million Americans, with about 8% of child population under 18 have a food allergy alone1.

That histamine response can vary from mild irritation to respiratory issues, even anaphylaxis1. For some parents, it’s a constant source of anxiety that their child could have an attack, and so even if your child is not allergic, it’s crucial that we educate ourselves about responsible practices so that every child is safe in and around the classroom.

There are systems in place and actions to take to reduce the threat of allergies while your child is in school. Here are some proactive strategies to cross off the list.

  1. See the doctor, meet the nurse. Make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician before the school year starts and discuss any measures to take in advance. Meet the school nurse and get an action plan on paper in the event that your child has a reaction. Since this latest dust up in the news around EpiPen, it’s imperative that we know what our child’s school has on hand. Most schools have at least one trained staff equipped to administer the EpiPen, but it may be necessary for you to supply over-the-counter or prescription drugs in case of emergency.
  1. Talk to your child. Makes sure discussions include your child. Have a conversation to discuss allergens, physical symptoms, and what to do if they start to feel icky. With food allergies and young children, this can be especially tricky, but that’s why it is so important that they understand certain foods need to be avoided.
  1. Suss out the classroom. Are there pets in the room, dust from the chalkboard, or fumes from the dry erase board that your child needs to avoid? Scope the scene and relay all relevant information to the teacher. 
  1. Eat for power. When the immune system is compromised, sensitivities to allergy triggers can heighten. One study indicated that grapes, nuts, tomatoes, oranges, and apples could quell hay fever symptoms. There are also spices that are natural decongestants like anise, fennel, and horseradish2.
  1. Probiotics are anti-inflammatory and can help reduce the severity of histamine response. Good bacteria in the form of a daily chewable, kefir, or whole yogurt will decrease the likelihood of severe reactions3.
  1. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid that also turns down the volume on inflammation and it can be taken as a supplement or naturally occurs in apples and onions (bonus tip: garlic and onion can be hidden in pureed soups!). It’s often combined with Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple that helps with congestion. Ask your pediatrician if these are good options for your child4.
  1. Eliminate dairy. No one wants to hear this one, but dairy is mucus forming and it can also be a subtle sensitivity itself, often going undetected because it is so prevalent in our diet5. Consider striking it from the menu to see if your child doesn’t fair better.

When it comes to allergies, we can just cover all our bases, keep our kids strong and healthy with food and activity, and hope for the best. Some children actually do outgrow their allergic episodes so the more we can instill good habits, the better.

 

 

References:

  1. http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/going-to-school/starting-school/allergies/
  2. http://www.everydayhealth.com/allergy-pictures/foods-that-fight-allergies.aspx#01
  3. http://www.everydayhealth.com/allergy-pictures/foods-that-fight-allergies.aspx#02
  4. http://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/relieve-allergies-natural-way
  5. http://www.centerforfoodallergies.com/sinusitis.htm

 

About Susie Almaneih

Susie Almaneih spent several years during her young adulthood teaching children dance at her church group, as well as other cultural-based activities. Susie now spends as much time as she can giving back to the families in her community. Over the years, this love for community has evolved into a deeper love for delivering positive and creative content and awareness to families of all ages.

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