August 21, 2007
With back to school season in full swing, there is a good chance your child may come home with new friends and new allergies.
An estimated 40 to 45 million Americans have some type of allergy and in most people these allergies first appear during childhood.
That's why doctors say parental awareness is key.
“In sort of kindergarten and early school age children, we will notice the seasonal component to allergic disease,” said Dr. Scott Commins.
Health experts admit that most food-born allergies are exposed before a child goes away to school; but, some of the more dangerous allergens follow you right from the living room, into the classroom.
“It may be a common misconception that you have to have a pet at home to be sort of sensitized or allergic to a pet and that's really not the case,” said Dr. Commins.
Even if you don't own a dog or a cat at home, if the child sitting next to yours does, studies show that pet dander can be transferred and your child could be exposed.
Some common allergy symptoms that parents should be on the look out for are things like itchy and watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing and coughing.
“It can be difficult when kids are too young to tell you that they feel stopped up and runny nose and that sort of thing but the old ‘tried and true’ thought of a hay fever is something that we really do pay attention to and can give us clues to allergy being the source of the child's discomfort,” said Dr. Commins.