Not Just Sniffling and Sneezing: Allergies Can Affect Your Child’s School Performance
You purchased all the pencils and folders and shopped for a new backpack, new sneakers and new clothes.
You limit your child’s screen time, oversee homework completion, enforce a reasonable bedtime and serve a healthy breakfast.
You do everything you know to do to set your child up for school success. Still, when 3 p.m. rolls around, your little darling comes home with itchy, watering eyes and a less-than-happy answer to the question, “How was your day?”
Whether your child is allergic to pollen, dust mites, molds, classroom pets or foods — or some combination of those — school environments are often rife with allergens. Hopefully, the symptoms are only a mild nuisance, but for some, allergy symptoms during the school day can impact sleep, school performance and even their social life.
To know how to help your child this school year, here are the signs and symptoms of some of the most common allergies and what to do about them:
Itchy, Watering Eyes, Stuffy Nose and Sneezing
Pollens, dust mites and molds are often present in classrooms. These can cause allergic rhinitis ("hay fever"), which can exacerbate asthma. Immunotherapy treatments are a very effective way to stop the symptoms of these types of allergies and asthma. That said, to really be most effective you should start immunotherapy treatment about three months before your most symptomatic time of year.
Drowsiness and Fatigue
No one concentrates well on little sleep. Restless nights can cause unfocused, unmotivated, hazy days in the classroom, on the field, and at the dinner table. If allergies are keeping your child from getting a good night’s sleep, treating those symptoms could make all the difference in your child’s daytime classroom performance. And, if you’re already treating your child’s allergies, make sure that you’re not using an over-the-counter allergy medication that causes drowsiness.
Itching and Hives
If you've ever had a bad bout of itchy hives, you know how distracting and embarrassing they can be. Skin rashes are a common symptom of seasonal and food allergies, especially nuts, dairy, egg and fish, and over-the-counter medications often only cover up the symptoms. Allergy skin testing performed by an allergy specialist may be necessary to determine the source of the problem and create a personalized solution.
Issues With Lunch
If your child has a known food allergy, you may have already thought to speak to school administrators about it. If not, be sure you ask for a tour of the school and get some information on how lunches and snacks are prepared. If you think your child has a serious food allergy, you likely will need specific allergy skin testing and perhaps an oral food challenge provided by an allergy specialist.
Allergy & Asthma Specialists can help you identify the source of your child’s problems and provide proper treatment. For more information, visit them online. To schedule an appointment call 1-800-86-COUGH, or book online by clicking here.