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Is it more Stressful for an Allergic Child?

Having an allergy and caring for someone with an allergy can be extremely stressful. Research has shown that many children with peanut allergy find their condition more stressful than children with other chronic medical conditions such as diabetes.

Remember, however, that with good support and effective management, anxieties can be reduced. There are also ways of using anxiety as a positive drive to learning more about the allergy and taking extra care when avoiding an allergen, which will reduce stress in the long term.

Managing allergies often means implementing certain restrictions on a child and their family, and this can result in both a social and emotional burden. Parents and carers are often worried about unexpected allergic reactions and how to deal with them – we want to feel in control of our child’s health and environment. This can be a very difficult thing to achieve, especially because of the unpredictable nature of allergy, but with experience, both you and your child will hopefully learn to control allergy symptoms.

Emotions and Anxiety

The symptoms that an allergy causes and the process of trying to control them can be a difficult experience both for the child and the parents trying to support them. It can be frustrating for everyone if allergen avoidance and treatment regimes are not followed and a child continues to suffer symptoms. These things do happen, so it is best to simply re-start the treatment regime with renewed effort and without blaming yourself or the child.

Flare-ups of symptoms can happen for no apparent reason, or may occur due to accidental exposure to an allergen or the child developing new allergies. When this happens, it can be very demotivating, but remember that symptoms can be controlled and things will improve. Learning that allergy treatments help to control symptoms, but do not always eradicate them, is the key to keeping positive.

Given that having an allergy can be an emotional as well as an anxious time for both parents and child, you need to develop certain strategies for management and gain support from those around you. Even the simplest of tasks, such as shopping, can turn into a time-consuming event; trying to find suitable products to use rather than more readily available items can be difficult. Try to take time to list everything you need, and think about the practicalities of getting any specialist items, i.e. mail order, buying online, home delivery, or in which order to shop if you require certain items from several shops.

Although not all allergies are life threatening, some can be and it is vital that you feel confident and instil this into others around you. Many studies have looked at the quality of life of allergy sufferers and the impact that having an allergy can have on them. The physical, social and emotional issues all need to be addressed, and the fact that symptoms may be controlled for a long period and then suddenly arise again needs to be recognised.

It is important to establish good relationships with your treating doctors and other health professionals so that you can gain support quickly, and effective treatment and care can be started.

 

Last updated: March 2012

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