Kids Asthma and Allergy Free
Milwaukee, WI (SafetyAlerts) - Each year asthma and
allergies take their toll on a large percent of the American population. More then 35
million people in the United States suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis, or "hay
fever," while another 17 million Americans suffer from asthma, according to the
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI).
Considered the most common chronic
childhood disease, asthma also affects nearly five million children in the United States.
What most people don't realize is that children with asthma also tend to suffer from
Preventing Allergic Rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is triggered by allergens, or airborne irritants such as
pollen, mold, animal dander or dust mites. This causes sneezing, a runny nose and itchy
eyes. Approximately 50 million Americans suffer from some form of allergic disease.
Allergic diseases develop at any age, and heredity plays a key role in who will develop an
allergy. If one parent has an allergic disease, the estimated risk of the child developing
allergies is 48%; if both parents have allergies, the child's risk jumps to 70%.
"It's impossible to completely
eliminate all the things that might trigger a child's allergies, but taking steps to delay
the child's exposure to certain allergens may help," said David Patterson, M.D.,
Fellow of the AAAAI. To help reduce the risk for developing allergic rhinitis, allergists
recommend you take the following steps to reduce the levels of allergens in your home:
Use zippered, plastic covers on
pillows and mattresses to reduce the presence of dust mites,
Minimize the number of stuffed
animals kept in the bedroom,
Remove carpet from the child's
Wash bedding and stuffed animals in
hot water (130 1F) weekly and
Keep indoor relative humidity below
50% to inhibit dust mite growth.
If the pet can not be removed
from the home
Keep the pet out of the infant's
Frequently vacuum rooms where the
pet lives and
Wash the pet weekly to decrease the
amount of dander, urine and dried saliva.
Your role in avoiding asthma
Asthma is a chronic lung disease characterized by coughing, chest tightness, shortness of
breath and wheezing. Children with a family history of allergy or asthma are at risk for
developing asthma. Studies show that up to 80% of children with asthma develop symptoms
before the age of five, thus the more subtle signs of asthma, such as chest tightness,
often are not identified early on, according to Patterson. The only observable symptoms a
child with asthma may have are a cough, rapid or noisy breathing, and chest congestion.
"A parent may notice that their child has less energy then other children during
active playtime or the child may try to limit physical activities to prevent coughing or
wheezing. A child's allergist relies heavily on parents' observations to determine the
signs of asthma and make a proper diagnosis," Patterson said.
There are two forms of asthma.
Allergic asthma, which is triggered by many of the same allergens that trigger other
allergic conditions such as allergic rhinitis. Nonallergic asthma is triggered by
substances that aggravate the nose and airways, but do not necessarily trigger allergies.
These irritants may include smoke, strong odors such as perfumes or household cleaners,
other airborne particles such as coal or chalk dust, changing weather conditions and
strenuous physical exercise.
Parents should take the following
steps to reduce their child's risk for developing asthma:
Use dust mite control measures,
Limit exposure to furry animals,
Do not smoke around the child or in
the child's home,
Eliminate wood stoves and fire
Breast feeding your infant
strengthens the child's immune system against becoming overly sensitized to allergens.
Preventing Food Allergies
Approximately 2-4% of children experience allergic reactions to foods. The most common
food, responsible for up to 90% of all allergic reactions, are cow's milk, eggs, peanuts,
wheat, soy, fish, seafood and tree nuts. Allergic reactions to food may produce symptoms
such as hives or eczema. Food allergy suffers may also experience symptoms such as
sneezing, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea and difficulty breathing.
The best strategy for preventing food
allergies is to avoid the specific food that triggers the allergy. Allergists recommend:
breast feeding infants for four to
six months (breast milk is less likely to produce allergic reactions and it strengthens
the immune system),
delaying exposing infants to
potentially allergenic foods and liquids, such as cow's milk, peanuts and fish, until the
child is one year old,
introduce infants to new foods one
at a time so parents can identify and eliminate any foods that cause allergic reaction,
reading food labels and becoming
familiar with scientific names for food,
An allergist/immunologist can provide
you with more information on preventing allergies and asthma. If you suspect your child
has allergies or asthma, an allergist can diagnose and treat allergies and asthma in your
child. To find an allergist/immunologist in your area or to learn more about allergies and
asthma, call the AAAAI's Physician Referral and Information Line at 1-800-822-2762 or
visit the AAAAI Web site at www.aaaai.org.
The American Academy of Allergy,
Asthma and Immunology is the largest professional medical specialty organization in the
United States, representing allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied
health professionals, and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of
allergic disease. Established in 1943, the Academy has more then 6,000 members in the
United States, Canada and 60 other countries.
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