What every parent must know about allergies in children

July 26, 2016
  • The allergic triad – nose allergy, skin eczema and asthma
    1 / 10 The allergic triad – nose allergy, skin eczema and asthma

    Allergies are common in Singapore kids, but how can you prevent and manage them? Young Parents asked the pharmacists at Watsons for their advice. Here are 10 things every parent needs to know:  

    Nasal (nose) allergies, skin eczema and asthma in children are often linked due to exposure to allergens that trigger off these conditions. So, it’s not uncommon for a child to have, for example, a nose allergy and asthma at the same time. 

    Related: 4 ways to prevent allergy in your baby

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  • Sinus infection versus nasal allergy
    2 / 10 Sinus infection versus nasal allergy

    Here’s how to tell: nose discharge arising from a nasal allergy is clear, which may be accompanied with sneezing and itchy eyes and fever is usually absent.

    On the other hand, the nasal discharge is often coloured yellow or green when a bacterial or viral sinus infection sets in. Fever may sometimes be present too.

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  • Minimise or avoid exposure to allergens
    3 / 10 Minimise or avoid exposure to allergens

    Minimise exposing your child to potential outdoor triggers (pollen, mould, haze particles) and indoor triggers (dust mites, pet dander) to prevent the condition from flaring up.

    For children aged seven and up, N95 masks are available in varying sizes for protection against outdoor pollutants during hazy conditions

    Related: Why doctors now say you should feed babies peanuts and other allergenic food

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  • Take control of symptoms
    4 / 10 Take control of symptoms

    Typical symptoms of nasal allergies include watery, runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, and red, itchy eyes.

    Over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines and decongestant nasal drops can be obtained at pharmacies to control these symptoms.

    Check with your pharmacist for more information on selecting the most suitable product for your child.  

     

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  • Nasal saline (salt) washes can help ease symptoms
    5 / 10 Nasal saline (salt) washes can help ease symptoms

    Hypertonic saline nasal rinses containing a high concentrations of salt solution (more than 0.9 per cent are a natural method to clear a blocked nose and open the nasal passage.

    Isotonic rinses containing 0.9 per cent salt solution can be used to moisten the nasal passages as well as remove nasal secretions and dried mucus.

    Related: Food allergy horror: My baby took egg yolk and blacked out

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  • Reduce allergens at home
    6 / 10 Reduce allergens at home

    Wash your child’s sheets and pillow cases at least once a week, comforters and toys at least once a month, preferably at temperatures of 60 degrees or higher, to kill dust mites. 

    Ensure proper ventilation of the house by keeping the windows open. 

    Do not allow your pet to enter your child’s bedroom at all times.

    Remove carpeting from the bedroom if possible and vacuum the floor regularly.

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  • Keep your child's skin moisturised
    7 / 10 Keep your child's skin moisturised

    If your child has eczema, select cleansing products and moisturisers that are free of irritants (parabens, perfumes and surfactants) and gentle on the skin.

    Use them daily to keep the skin hydrated and healthy.

    Related: Child eczema: ways to manage it

     

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  • Banish that itch
    8 / 10 Banish that itch

    To soothe your child’s itchy skin, start off with steroid-free products such as coal tar ointments, which can be obtained over-the-counter from pharmacies.

    Oral antihistamines such as cetirizine and loratadine may be taken if the itch is more severe. 

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  • Health supplements may be useful
    9 / 10 Health supplements may be useful

    You can try giving your kid probiotics – they maintain a healthy gut by preventing the intestinal absorption of substances that trigger eczema.

    Related: Baby eczema: Finding the best skin moisturiser

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  • When to consult a doctor
    10 / 10 When to consult a doctor

    Kids with allergies may find that their condition improves over time. In some cases, they may outgrow the condition completely when they reach the teenage years.

    If your child’s symptoms become bothersome and persistent despite self-management and affect his daily activities of the child – he can’t sleep or concentrate in school – consult a pecialist for further evaluation and treatment options such as immunotherapy for allergy desensitisation and if appropriate, nasal surgery.

    Always consult your paediatrician or family doctor if you have questions.

    (Photos: 123RF.com)

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