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Being Allergy Aware

When a child has been diagnosed with an allergy, it can be difficult for both parents and child to adapt to a new lifestyle, or incorporate treatments into a daily routine. Over time, the treatments and the routines that are needed will become second nature and part of every day life.

There is usually, however, a period of adjustment, while doctors and patients learn which treatments work most effectively, and how best to avoid the symptoms occurring in the first place.

For a child with allergy, some of these experiences might seem to exclude them:

  • How can a child with a wheat allergy enjoy party food?
  • How can a child with dust mite allergy play in a dusty church hall?
  • How can a child with eczema enjoy the rough and tumble of a toddler group?

However, with the right knowledge, understanding and motivation from all adults, allergic children can have a full experience of most activities and opportunities that children without allergies take for granted.

A Child's World

For children, it is not only just fun to be with other children. Being encouraged to play, explore and experiment with children of a similar age, they can gain greatly in their social and educational development. Helping children with allergy to become as involved and accepted as other children in activities can sometimes take a bit of planning and communication, but this will reap rewards for both parent and child, and the social group that the allergic child mixes with.

Small children can be innocently worried about another child who appears different from them. This could be when a child doesn't run around as much, someone who has skin problems, or someone who seems always to be sneezing and upset perhaps.

When other children, especially their friends, are unwell from allergy symptoms, small children can be alarmed. While most symptoms can be managed, there will inevitably be days when they flare up and are more noticeable. Children of a young age will generally directly say what they think and, often this is not meant to be unkind, it is simply that children do not always think about what they say, but just state things as they see them. This can lead to them to comment on, or point out, another child's allergic condition in a way that may make the allergic child embarrassed or hurt. However, with sensitive handling and talking to other children, allergies can be explained in a matter-of-fact way that can lead to better acceptance and help lessen the impact upon the allergic child.

Allergy UK strives to encourage all children to be educated about allergies to help eliminate the embarrassment and stigma that can be attached to the symptoms of allergies.

 

Last updated: March 2012

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