Allergies in children: How to handle them during lockdown

5 July, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Allergies in children: How to handle them during lockdown

We all worry about the well being of our children when they go out. We worry about the other sick kids they will come in contact with or the contaminated surfaces that they will touch or that they will eat something without washing their hands. But that is not a worry, anymore. Kids stay indoor and do not venture out due to coronavirus and then would it be wrong to say that they should not fall sick? After all, our homes are the safest. Well, not really.

Dr. Krishan Chugh, Director and HOD, Paediatrics and PICU at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, India explains that most often allergies happen throughout the year because of outdoor factors, however, there are indoor allergens too and parents have to be cautious about them.

These indoor allergens occur due to a lot of cooking that is taking place these days, since everyone is at home. It also happens because we all prefer to keep our doors and windows closed and keep our ACs on all day. And since many of us are not allowing our maids to come, we don’t dust surfaces often, which end up collecting dust- especially the carpets, playing area, bedroom. All these together make home a big allergy zone for kids.

Some of the most common signs of allergy are sneezing, running nose, itching. Dr Chugh adds, “Most of the times when we see our kids itch, we tell them not to touch their face, mask, nose, and they feel even more irritable. This is when it gets important to consult a doctor and get them anti-allergy medicines to handle their itching.” When kids are not administered medicines during the onset of an allergic reaction, sometimes the infections worsen with time and then they have to be put on stronger medications, which should be avoided especially during COVID days.

Many people believe that getting an annual flu shot helps in tackling allergies but that’s not true. “The flu vaccine can avoid flu but doesn't work in case of allergic reactions.”

Dr Chugh recommends that it is extremely important for parents to understand the cause of allergic reactions in children. With rains, mites and fungal infections will go up so parents should be careful about that. They shouldnt keep anything moist or wet inside the house.

Allergens also continue to hang around in the air since we keep doors and windows closed to keep the room cool with AC. For this reason, it is important to allow the indoor air to circulate once a day and also clean the filters of ACs regularly.

Also, he advises kids to take a brisk walk outdoors in the evening.

Addressing concerns over food allergies, the doctor advises to watch out for allergic reactions to certain foods. Food allergies often show up after that food is consumed around the mouth and lips.

Also, to avoid allergies from gripping your child, it is important to ensure they have a healthy and colourful diet.

Self-administering allergic medicines?

When it comes to anti allergic medicines, we know a lot of people self administer medicines as many are over-the-counter medicines. Dr Chugh adds, “One thing that people often overlook when self prescribing medicines is dosage. It is important to optimise the dose and duration, which if ignored, can lead to other problems over a period of time. It can start affecting reflexes, their activity levels.”

So this World Allergy Week, we want all parents to be cautious about indoor allergens and keep their children safe.

                —Times of India