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How to help a child with allergies

Posted by Blooms The Chemist on 29 Feb 2024

How to help a child with allergies


Allergies are very common in Australians, with almost 20 per cent of the Australian population having an allergy1.

Australian children are known to have the highest prevalence of food allergies worldwide, with 40% to 50% of children experiencing symptoms of an allergic reaction from the ages of one to four.

We explore the common types of allergies that impact Australian children, the signs and symptoms of allergic reactions and how you can prevent allergic reactions.

What is an allergy?

An allergy is when your immune system reacts to something that is usually harmless to other people. There are a range of common allergies, including1:

  • Grass allergies
  • Food allergies (including allergies to shellfish, fish, nuts, egg, wheat, dairy and soy)
  • Pollen allergies
  • Allergies to some medicines
  • Latex (rubber) allergies

Substances that cause allergies are called ‘allergens’.

What are the signs and symptoms of allergic reactions in children?

The symptoms and signs of allergic reactions in children depend on their allergy severity.

If your child is having a mild to moderate reaction, they may experience one or more of these symptoms and they may happen simultaneously. Some symptoms include2:

  • Hives or welts
  • Facial swelling
  • A tingling feeling around the mouth
  • Stomach pain

If it’s the first time your child has experienced an allergic reaction, please visit your doctor to confirm whether they’ve experienced an allergic reaction, and they can help guide you on how to treat it the next time it happens.

We’ve also found guidelines from the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) on how to feed your infant and prevent allergies, which you can access here.

It’s important to note that your child may experience a more severe reaction when they’re exposed to the allergen for a second time.

If your child is having a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), call an ambulance immediately.

Some severe allergy symptoms include2:

  • Difficulty talking
  • Swelling of the tongue
  • Persistent dizziness or they may collapse
  • Infants and young children can become pale and floppy

How are allergies diagnosed, and how can I treat them for my child?

Allergies get diagnosed through your doctor. They may do a physical examination and suggest allergy testing, which can help you and your family determine what your child is allergic to.

Allergies can be treated in a range of ways, but the ideal treatment is the one your child is going to stick to.

There are antihistamines available in the form of tablets, sprays and more, which are suitable for children. You can find them here.

For milder allergy symptoms and reactions, Claratyne Children’s Syrup, that's grape flavoured, provides 24-hour non-drowsy relief of hayfever and allergy symptoms.

For severe allergic reactions, having adrenaline (or epinephrine) on hand for anaphylaxis is ideal, as people with severe allergies should always carry an adrenaline autoinjector (like an EpiPen).

If your child has severe allergic reactions, it’s also important to show them the action plan that’s been created in case of an emergency. We’ve found a template here.

Always read the label. Contains benzoates. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional.

References

1Health Direct, Allergies and hypersensitivities, accessed 30 January 2024

2Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, Allergic and anaphylactic reactions, accessed 30 January 2024

This is a sponsored article in partnership with Claratyne.