Natural Remedies for Children with Allergies
What’s Going on with Your Kids?
When your son drops his squirt gun in the yard and skids onto the back porch to swig some lemonade, you notice a raised, red spot on his forearm. You hear your daughter sneezing in between splashes in the kiddie pool. You note that your preteen rubs his puffy eyes as he wheels the lawn mower back into the garage.
What might these symptoms have in common and how can you help? Click Next to find out.
What Is an Allergy?
All three children in the previous slide are outdoors and may be showing signs of allergies to pollen. Pollen isn’t the only trigger of allergy symptoms, but it is a common one. Some people’s immune systems are especially sensitive to a normally harmless substance when touched, eaten, or breathed. A hypersensitive immune system defends the body against these triggering substances (allergens). It releases histamines, which causes allergic symptoms like rashes or itchy, watery eyes.
Prevent Exposures, and Take Care of Symptoms
The most effective allergy remedy is prevention. Figure out what substances, foods, or airborne triggers your children are allergic to in order to reduce complications. For example, allergies can cause a child’s asthma to flare up. Swelling around your child’s mouth, eyelids, or genitals might indicate a deeper problem called angioedema. And swelling inside the throat can be life-threatening. Such severe cases need a doctor’s attention. But even mild allergies can disrupt your child’s everyday life and should be moderated. Learning to recognize and ease symptoms naturally will help.
What Do Skin Allergies Look Like?
Your child’s skin may be swollen, red, itchy, scaly, or bumpy. This dermatitis often results from touching an allergen such as poison ivy, items made from latex, such as balloons or toys, or nickel in jewelry, for example.
Another skin symptom is hives, which are raised welts that often itch. Hay fever, cat dander, insect bites, and some medicines are common causes of hives. If none of these triggers seems likely to be the cause, consider a food allergy, which sometimes manifests on the skin.
What Do Food Allergies Look Like?
Besides producing skin rashes and hives, a food allergy might cause your child to feel dizzy, faint in the head, or a tingling in the mouth. They might experience intestinal issues such as queasiness, diarrhea, or abdominal distress. Food allergies may produce a respiratory response, such as wheezing or breathlessness. Their tongue or another part of their face might swell.
Think about the timing of your child’s symptoms. Did they appear within a few hours of eating? If so, try to pinpoint what your child ate.
What Do Respiratory Allergies Look Like?
Your child’s immune system may try to protect them from something they breathe, such as pollen from trees, grass, and weeds, as well as pet dander, dust mites, and mold spores floating in the air. Triggers can be seasonal, year-round, outdoors, and/or indoors.
Like food allergy symptoms, airborne allergies could cause an itchy feeling in the mouth. More often, allergies to inhalants clog sinuses, creating facial pressure, and make eyes water and itch. Your child’s sneezing or runny—or stuffy—nose may indicate an allergy to something in the air.
Natural Remedies for Skin Allergies
To soothe skin irritation, consider aloe vera gel, calendula cream, or anti-itch lotions. Bathe the irritated area in warm—not hot—water, and use mild soap. For hives, apply a cool, wet cloth to the area. Some people wet the cloth with ice water, some with cold milk. Putting baking soda in your child’s bathwater might feel good.
Ultimately, prevention is the best remedy. Help your child avoid touching offending substances. This may mean wearing long pants, sleeves, and socks outdoors, not petting cats, or not wearing earrings or rings containing nickel.
Natural Remedy for Food Allergies
The only guaranteed remedy for food allergies is avoidance. If you haven’t taken your child for testing by an allergist, and the food triggering their symptoms isn’t obvious, start experimenting. One at a time, eliminate the most common culprits in childhood food allergies: peanuts, milk, wheat, eggs, and tree nuts. Once you identify your child’s food allergen, remember to read food ingredient labels carefully and ask questions about ingredients and preparation techniques in restaurants.
Soothing Food Allergy Symptoms
Traditional wisdom for treating diarrhea is to drink only water and eat bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. If your child feels dizzy, help them keep their head still. Nausea also lessens with stillness. Get rid of any strong scents such as candles or air fresheners, and see if a fan blowing lightly on your child’s face eases nausea. If they feel like eating plain crackers, that might help.
Natural Remedies for Respiratory Allergies
Even if you control indoor air and keep kids inside when pollen counts are high, complete avoidance of airborne allergens is nearly impossible. Over-the-counter hay fever relief products may relieve nasal or eye irritation. Nasal washes and breathing steam over a bowl of hot water have been shown to help sinus congestion.
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