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Understanding triggers and finding relief can keep kids in class
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, ILL. (August 20, 2013) The common cold and chickenpox aren t the only ailments parents should worry about this back-to-school season. Allergies affect 28 million children and 7.1 million suffer from asthma, making these two conditions a leading cause of missed school days in the United States.
"There can often be many more allergy and asthma triggers in the classroom than in the home environment, causing children's immune systems to over respond", said allergist James Sublett, MD, chair of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Indoor Environment Committee. "An estimated 60 to 80 percent of asthmatic children also have an allergy, which can cause intense symptoms that can be life-threatening when not properly controlled."
With schools commonly known as being a petri dish of germs and viruses that get passed around from child to child, parents shouldn't just chalk up breathing difficulties and runny noses to yet another cold. Both can be signs of something more serious, such as allergies and asthma.
To help parents understand if their child is at risk for missing school days due to allergy and asthma, ACAAI offers the following tips.
"While many parents worry about food allergies being a problem in the school setting, it is more common one for children to suffer from allergy symptoms when they inhale allergens such as mold, pet, pollen and dust," said Dr. Sublett. "Foods can be avoided, but inhalants often cannot. It's important children are properly tested and treated by a board-certified allergist so they can find relief from their symptoms."
Even though a child may appear to be healthy at home, parents need to seriously consider how their child feels in the classroom. Some allergens may also cause a late response in some children. For example, a child may be exposed to pollen during their walk to school in the morning but not begin sneezing and wheezing until lunch time.
For more information about insect sting allergy and to locate an allergist in your area, visit www.AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org.