Summer holidays are meant to be a time of fun and laughter for everyone, but even the best-laid plans can quickly go awry when allergies are left unchecked. Allergic reactions can run the gamut from stuffy noses and slight shortness of breath to full-blown anaphylactic shock. How can you help your little ones stay happy and healthy this summer vacation?

  1. Consult your doctor

Arrange an appointment with your doctor to discuss your child’s condition before you set any plans in stone. You’ll want to confirm that

  • you have enough medicine on hand for the length of your trip;
  • the medicine is still effective; and
  • that your child’s allergies are under control.

If your child has been exhibiting symptoms of allergic reactions and you don’t know the cause, you can also make an appointment with an allergist who will advise you on the best way forward. Be sure to keep a diary of your child’s symptoms! Here are some symptoms you might want to look out for:

  • Runny nose, stuffy nose or sneezing
  • Wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Dry, persistent cough lasting for a period of more than 3 weeks
  • Rashes (eg. eczema, contact dermatitis, hives)
  • Fatigue and irritability
  • Nausea and vomiting after ingesting certain foods
  1. Always have the right medicine on hand.

Check, check and check again! Be it antihistamines, an inhaler, or emergency epinephrine, always keep your child’s medicine on your person! This way, if you notice your child exhibiting symptoms of his allergy, like shortness of breath or an itchy rash, the time between your child first being exposed to the allergen and the time treatment is administered will be drastically reduced. It could mean the difference between life and death.

“But wait,” you might argue, “is this really necessary? My child’s allergy isn’t that severe.”

Allergic reactions can be unpredictable at the best of times. You never know when a mild rash could escalate into anaphylaxis, which is much more severe and could even result in death! Better to be safe than sorry, right?

  1. Avoid triggers

Make a list of everything you know that your child is allergic to. It’s important that your child knows to go nowhere near their triggers! Are they allergic to dust? Stay away from dusty shops that look like they haven’t been cleaned in weeks. Seafood? You might want to eat at a different restaurant to avoid your food being cross-contaminated in the kitchen. Pollen? Monitor the pollen count in the area before letting your child outdoors for the day.

Remember to get everyone on board with your plan! There are countless horror stories of well-meaning relatives unintentionally giving children food they were allergic to ­floating around the internet. You don’t want that to happen to your child, do you? ­

  1. Allergy-proof your home

Staying home this summer? Minimise your child’s exposure to allergens by allergy-proofing your home!

Let’s say your child has a pollen allergy, for example. It may be tempting to crack open the window for a breath of fresh air, but to keep your home a safe haven for your little one you should keep the windows closed. You should also take a shower and change your clothes immediately after returning home—you never know if pollen is hitching a ride on your clothes.

If your child has an insect allergy, sealing sneaky cracks in the walls can also help to keep pesky pests at bay. You might also consider calling a pest exterminator if you want to be really thorough.

  1. Invest in a medical ID bracelet

If you’re heading overseas with your little ones, a medical ID bracelet could come in handy. These bracelets state the wearer’s identity, allergies, and medical conditions in more than one language, which could be helpful if you don’t speak the local language. They can also serve as proof of pre-existing medical conditions to emergency paramedics or in case you get stopped at customs for possessing allergy medicin­­­e. Helpful, right?

With these handy tips under your belt, summer vacation will be painless for both you and your little one. Allergies are nothing to sneeze at, though—never overtreat your child (eg. by mixing antihistamines) and always remember to consult your paediatrician if your child’s symptoms start to interfere with their quality of life.

References

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Allergy Symptoms. n.d. Electronic. 18 July 2018. <https://acaai.org/allergies/symptoms>.

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Allergy Treatment. 17 April 2018. Electronic. 18 July 2018. <https://acaai.org/allergies/treatment>.

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Anaphylaxis. 29 January 2018. Electronic. 18 July 2018. <https://acaai.org/allergies/anaphylaxis >.

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Seasonal Allergies. 28 December 2017. Electronic. 18 July 2018. <https://acaai.org/allergies/seasonal-allergies>.

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Summer Allergies: Fact or Fiction. n.d. Electronic. 18 July 2018. <https://acaai.org/news/summer-allergies-fact-or-fiction>.

American Medical ID. Allergy Medical Alert IDs and Information. n.d. 18 July 2018. <https://www.americanmedical-id.com/allergy-bracelets>.

American Medical ID. EpiPen Jewelry and Medical ID Information. n.d. Electronic. 18 July 2018. <https://www.americanmedical-id.com/epipen>.

WebMD. How to Beat Summer Allergies. 21 March 2018. Electronic. 18 July 2018.

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