The following are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
WHEN TO SUSPECT AN ALLERGY
Some allergies are easy to identify by the pattern of symptoms that invariably follows exposure to a particular substance. But others are more subtle, and may masquerade as other conditions. Here are seven common clues that could lead you to suspect your child may have an allergy.
1. Patches of bumps or itchy, red skin that "weeps" or oozes clear fluid, and forms a crust.
2. Development of hives, intensely itchy skin eruptions that usually last for a few hours and move from one part of the body to another.
3. Repeated or chronic coldlike symptoms -- that last more than a week or two, or develop at about the same time every year. These could include a runny nose, nasal stuffiness, sneezing and throat clearing.
4. Nose rubbing, sniffling, snorting, sneezing and itchy, runny eyes.
5. Itching or tingling sensations in the mouth and throat. Itchiness is not usually a complaint with a cold, but it is the hallmark of an allergy problem.
6. Coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and other respiratory symptoms.
7. Unexplained bouts of diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and other intestinal symptoms.
HOW TO MANAGE HAY FEVER
- Many children are allergic to pollens and molds, both of which are found everywhere outdoors and cannot be completely avoided.
- Exposure to plant allergens can be minimized by keeping your child indoors on days with high pollen and/or mold counts. It's helpful to use air conditioners, where possible, to reduce exposure to pollen in both your home and your car.
- Dust mites congregate where food is plentiful. They are especially numerous in upholstered furniture, bedding and rugs. Choose blankets and pillows made of synthetic materials. Padded furnishings such as mattresses, box springs, pillows and cushions should be encased in allergen-proof, zip-up covers which are available through catalogs and specialized retailers. Wash linens weekly, and other bedding such as blankets, every two to three weeks in hot water, then put them through the hottest cycle of a clothes dryer. Pillows should be replaced every two to three years.