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Back to School with Allergies & Asthma


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Between buying school supplies, scheduling annual physicals, encouraging summer reading, and starting earlier bedtimes, we know you are doing everything possible to set your child up for school success. Still, when they head back to school, many children will experience a flare-up of itchy, watering eyes and congestion, making their first weeks back less successful. In fact, allergies and asthma are both common causes of missing school for students.

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.

But allergies aren’t the only offender – doctors often see a peak in hospitalizations in late September due to asthma attacks, especially in children. Viruses are a common trigger for asthma; our physicians often see a spike in the respiratory viruses as students return to school due to increased exposure to germs. Some children have allergic asthma, which means that the exposure to new allergens may also trigger asthmatic reactions.

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

Pollen, dust mites, and molds are often present in classrooms. These can cause allergic rhinitis (“hay fever”), which can exacerbate asthma. Immunotherapy treatments are the most 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 and unmotivated days in the classroom, on the field, and at the dinner table. If allergies keep 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.

Issues With Lunch or Classroom Treats

If your child has a known food allergy, you may have already thought to speak to school administrators and their teachers about it. If you still need to, 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.

African American mother and daughter running through park. Focus on little girl.

Spring into Action!

If your child struggles with allergies or asthma, schedule a visit with one of our board-certified allergists to develop an asthma and anaphylaxis action plan. These plans may include permission to bring a rescue inhaler to school and when it should be administered (before gym class is a common option). It may also recommend that an epinephrine auto-injector is on hand for severe allergies. Whatever the case, a board-certified allergist will identify triggers and prepare an action plan specialized to your child’s needs, ensuring a safe and successful school year!

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.

Feel better. Sleep better. Look better. See an allergist.

One visit with the allergist will identify your allergic triggers and develop a treatment plan.

All the physicians of Allergy & Asthma Specialists are board-certified in allergy and clinical immunology. You can easily schedule an appointment at one of eight convenient locations, and we can usually determine the source of your allergies in a single visit using skin testing without the use of needles. To learn more, contact us today at 1-800-86-COUGH, or visit our website with information on the location closest to you.

Schedule an appointment at any of the 8 convenient locations online or call 610-825-5800.

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This content is made possible by our partner. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the attitude, views, or opinions of the Main Line Today Magazine editorial staff.

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