It’s estimated that over 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year, as found by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are a lot of different triggers for allergies like food, medicine, pollen, and even different animals. Allergic reactions can be anywhere from mild to extreme, so parents can’t help but worry about their children especially when they’re poised to leave for college. So how do you go about helping your child learn to healthfully cope with their allergies?
Familiarity is Key
Determining the trigger of your child’s allergies must be a priority. The doctors can help your family understand medical protocols when the type of allergy is causing symptoms. The earlier your child becomes familiar with allergic triggers, the more time they have to learn how to avoid it entirely. When your child does undergo an allergy attack, talk them through it and explain how to soothe it through appropriate medication or even a bath to curb symptoms. Teach them the virtue of staying hydrated, as this helps when their noses get runny. Involving your child in becoming aware of their health, such as noticing the symptoms of an allergy attack right away, drinking their medicine properly, or notifying an adult, will all help them build a strong foundation for coping. When they become teens and young adults, these familiar tactics shall be firmly ingrained and help them manage their allergies on their own.
As a parent, the automatic instinct is to protect and shelter our kids at the first sign of a health threat. This is a form of helicopter parenting and can be quite detrimental to their development as independent individuals. Still, some families are turning to the concept of immunotherapy to reduce allergy symptoms, which involves exposing individuals to the allergens that affect them most in small, manageable doses. This is in hopes of boosting their body’s natural resistance. This form of therapy can come in different forms, like a shot, drops, or pills. As your child grows older, they can be made responsible for keeping up with their doses. This will be truly helpful when it comes to be the time of year when their allergies are more prominent.
Pick a Good College Together
The choice of college is important when your soon-to-be college student has allergies. Allergies can be life-threatening, so the environment of their college is important. Peanut allergies can cause anaphylactic shock, so your child’s food must be carefully prepared. However, expecting a young adult to prepare all of their own food may not always be a viable option. Colleges like Stanford University have dining facilities that are completely peanut-free. University of California-Davis offers vegetarian and gluten-free meals on their campus. The University of Virginia has allergen-free zones. There are a lot of options to choose from, so you and your child can decide where they feel that they are safest.
To become a fully functional person, children need to be prepared – especially when they have to deal with allergies. As parents, we will eventually have to trust that we have done our jobs and launch our responsible adults out into the world. Giving them a helping hand as they start college and independent life should give everyone peace of mind.