What to Do If Your Child Has an Allergic Reaction

Feb 09, 2024
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In the event of a possible allergic reaction, you want to help your child as soon as possible. Here’s what you should do if you think your child has an allergy.

Allergies happen when your immune system reacts to something in the environment that is typically harmless. If your child has an allergy, it doesn’t mean their immune system is defective: It simply means their immune system overreacts to a specific substance or food. 

Thanks to the release of histamines and other chemicals from the immune system, allergic reactions can take many forms. Symptoms of an allergic reaction vary based on the allergen causing the reaction and the severity of the allergy, but they include respiratory symptoms, skin symptoms, and trouble breathing. 

Since symptoms like these can come from other conditions too, confirming an allergy diagnosis with your child’s pediatrician is critical. Once you’ve confirmed the allergy, it becomes easier to help your child avoid the allergen in the future and mitigate any reactions that occur. 

Rolandine Vaughan, PA-C, MPAS, provides virtual health care including sick visits for children through Virtually Urgent Healthcare. Based in Dacula, Georgia, Virtually Urgent Healthcare provides detailed telehealth evaluations plus treatment for diagnosed conditions. Rolandine can also make specialist referrals for further treatment if necessary. 

If your child has a reaction that you suspect is an allergic one, don’t panic. Here’s everything you need to know in the event of an allergic reaction in your household:

Identifying an allergic reaction at home

When allergic reactions happen, it’s important to monitor and take note of the symptoms your child experiences. It may help to write them down: Do you see signs of a reaction on your child’s skin like hives or irritation? Do you see other signs like swelling? How does your child feel?

Common allergic symptoms include:

  • Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
  • Swelling of the face
  • Eye redness and watering
  • Swelling tongue
  • Tight throat
  • Skin rash or hives
  • Wheezing or breathing problems

If your child has a known allergy, then you’re likely already familiar with the signs of a reaction. However, you might not realize your child has an allergy until their first reaction occurs. It’s important to familiarize yourself with common symptoms of allergies before they happen so you can take the necessary steps in the event of a reaction. 

Severe allergic reactions can be life-threatening, and taking the right action is crucial. A severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis involves trouble breathing, swelling of the throat, low blood pressure, and increased heart rate. Not everyone with an allergy will experience anaphylaxis, and it is most common with food or insect allergies.

Steps to take

Milder allergic reactions like hay fever or hives can improve with over-the-counter antihistamines as long as your child’s health care provider approves them first. You should also monitor the reaction closely so you can seek professional help if it gets worse.

If you notice signs of anaphylaxis in your child, get emergency care right away. If your child has an epinephrine auto-injector, or EpiPen, you should use it immediately and call 911. A pediatrician may prescribe your child an EpiPen after diagnosing a severe allergy, and you should keep the EpiPen on hand and accessible at all times. 

Attending a child’s sick visit: What to expect

If you suspect your child has an allergy, a sick visit with Virtually Urgent Healthcare can give you the answers you need. Rolandine evaluates any symptoms your child is experiencing and reviews their medical history. She might also ask you to keep a food diary or keep track of your child’s behaviors so you can identify the most likely allergen. 

Treatment depends on the severity and type of your child’s allergy. If they don’t need an EpiPen, they might benefit from antihistamines or other medications to control symptoms. You can also help your child by keeping them away from the allergen if possible, though some allergens are easier to avoid than others. If your child has a food allergy, you must be diligent in keeping that allergen out of your child’s diet. 

If you have questions about allergic reactions in children, don’t hesitate to book a virtual visit. Request an appointment online or over the phone at Virtually Urgent Healthcare today.