7-tips-to-help kids with-allergies

7 tips to help kids with allergies

Whether pollen, pets or peanuts are the culprits that set off your child’s allergies, experienced moms have proven methods that will help to keep your kids feel safe.

Puffy eyes, stuffy nose and itchy throat are classic signs of seasonal allergies. Or it may also be a rash, nausea and swollen tongue that has your child alarmed about a food allergy. The world is full of seemingly harmless things that can cause serious problems, from grass to milk. The advice of experienced mothers of children with allergies can help your kid manage these chronic conditions.

When your child’s allergic reactions erupt, follow a doctor’s treatment plan and take preventative measures to reduce the risks. But even if you cannot stop the allergies, as a parent you want to ease the physical discomfort and protect your child from the emotional toll it takes.

It all starts with you!

“How well your child copes is influenced by how well you cope,” says Linda Coss whose son was diagnosed with food allergies. “There's a big difference between ‘rising to meet the challenge’ and ‘feeling overwhelmed by the burden,’” so she recommends developing a thoughtful and balanced approach. The experience inspired Linda to write books to assist other parents, and school and medical professionals, including What to Eat cookbooks and How to Manage Your Child’s Life-Threatening Food Allergies, sharing the insights and strategies she’s developed.

Guide your child with answers
Be well-informed and explain the condition to your kids so they understand. Prepare them with easy answers to questions from playmates and classmates so they know more about it too.

Life doesn’t revolve around allergies
Create a healthy and fun lifestyle for your family with activities that don’t involve their condition. Try to ensure that your child has a "normal" life. “Allergies are a medical condition not a personality trait,” says Linda. “They may not want to feel different, but assure them everyone is unique. They are not alone.”


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Check-in to talk about feelings

“We discuss how to be more aware and prepared about their conditions to relieve some of the uncertainty and anxiety,” says Tonya Winders, a mother of five --four with allergies and asthma. “One common problem is feeling different or excluded. I try to help them understand that everyone is ‘different’ in one way or another,” she says, sharing Linda’s perspective. She emphasizes the importance of focusing on common interests with others. “We role play so they feel confident with responses to these situations.”

Connect with a community
“It is important to connect with others who understand your kid’s medical concerns and the emotional aspects,” explains Tonya who is also the president of the Allergy and Asthma Network and the Mothers of Asthmatics, so she knows the value of receiving support from other moms too.

Learning by teaching
Tonya recommends the “see one, do one, teach one” method of learning. She shows her kids how to use an inhaler, for instance, adding that an estimated 80 percent of patients do not use inhalers correctly. “Then they teach me or someone else. It’s an effective way to reinforce behavior, whether taking medications, controlling environmental triggers like dusting or confronting someone who teases them.”

Choose age-appropriate approaches
Tailor your approach to children’s developmental stages. “Teens may think they are invincible so it is important that they make good decisions and act responsibly,” notes Tonya. Linda agrees that older children need to carry their own medication and advocate for their own needs.
“My goal as a parent is to raise healthy, independent adults,” explains Tonya. “We focus on self-management skills--sometimes related to allergies or just the discipline of daily life. Knowing your body and how to care for it is an essential life skill.”

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