As August quickly approaches, many parents instinctively begin thinking of back-to-school preparation. As if gathering school supplies, school uniforms, new sneakers and backpacks wasn’t enough, we’re here to tell you that there may be more! If you have children with environmental allergies, August is also a great time to begin planning their transition back into the classroom, helping them to be as comfortable as possible.
Before the school year starts, you may want to make an appointment with those most involved in your child’s care—teachers, school nurses, and even the principal. Communication is key and gives you an opportunity to address concerns and questions you may have ahead of time. Creating an allergy card that can be handed out to these individuals is also helpful. The allergy card should clearly outline the child’s allergies, emergency contact information, and how to handle emergency situations that may require the administration of medication. If your child has an EpiPen, this would also be the time to ask about what forms need to be filled out in order for the EpiPen to be kept at the school and used in the event of an adverse reaction.
Once school begins, your child will be a key player in the management of his/her own allergies. Ask your child questions daily about what seems to be making them symptomatic in school so that you can address each trigger as it comes. For some children, this may be chalk dust, sitting near air vents, or even class pets like hamsters or rabbits. If the triggers are mostly outdoors and you know that your child has P.E. or another outdoor activity planned that day, it would be beneficial to check the daily pollen counts to know how best to plan.
If your child is symptomatic and you think allergies may be the culprit but you aren’t sure, Atlantic Ear, Nose & Throat begins testing and treating for allergies in children as young as five years old. Once the triggers are known, daily life often becomes easier to manage and you can start looking at long term treatment options like immunotherapy.
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