When our affiliated physicians treat school-age kids for allergies, we frequently see their school performance improve in tandem with their allergy symptoms. Sadly, allergies affect more than just kids’ health; they can also affect their concentration and behavior.
Here are just a few of the ways that the effects of allergies can hurt school performance:
- Fear of bullying. A 2013 study showed that nearly one third of food-allergic kids ages eight to 17 reported being bullied because of their food allergies. Approximately half of the kids interviewed for the study had not told their parents about the bullying incidents.
- General anxiety over food allergies. Studies show that one in 13 kids has allergies—roughly two per classroom. At home, kids’ diets can be carefully controlled, but that is not always the case at school where cafeteria meals, food sharing between students, and snacks at classroom parties all come into play. When kids have to worry about reacting to foods, it places an extra burden on their minds that can interfere with learning.
- Distraction due to allergy symptoms. Allergies can manifest through itchy eczema patches, a runny or congested nose, burning eyes, and a host of other symptoms. When a child is battling these irritating symptoms, it’s hard for them to focus on the task at hand. Here’s an assessment from a 2012 study that sums up the effects of allergic rhinitis, a common allergy-related condition, on school performance: “The symptoms of allergic rhinitis like nasal blockade, itching, rhinorrhea, and sneezing cause severe distraction during class hours. Uncontrolled symptoms at night leading to sleep loss, and secondary daytime fatigue may also contribute to learning impairment similarly.”
- Excessive absences. When allergy symptoms flare up, they can cause kids to miss school.
Allergies are frequently mistaken for ADHD or reading difficulties in the classroom. We have seen many cases where families are surprised and delighted to see their kids’ school performance improve as allergy treatment restores their health.
One big indicator that allergies are hurting a child’s scholastic progress is that their abilities seem to fluctuate. For example, they may really struggle with concentration in fall and spring when pollens are in full bloom, or they may do worse in school on days when they have eaten certain types of allergenic foods.
If you think allergies may be interfering with your child’s school experience, visit a sublingual immunotherapy clinic. A doctor can perform skin testing and, if appropriate, prescribe under-the-tongue allergy drops that can help desensitize your child to the allergens that are making them miserable—whether it be food, dust, pollen, or mold. Contact AllergyEasy about allergy drops for kids.