Allergies can wreak havoc in the youngest years of life causing a perpetual runny or congested nose, itchy eczema that can crust over and bleed, asthma, recurring ear infections, coughing, and allergic shiners (dark circles under the eyes from nose congestion).
If your child has allergies, talk to your doctor. There are a few different treatment options:
- Over-the-counter or prescription medications. If your child’s allergies are mild, a physician may be able to treat them with antihistamines, decongestants, inhalers, etc. The drawback here is that many medications come with side effects. Another challenge is that the drugs may provide only partial relief for your child’s allergies.
- Allergy shots. If your child’s allergies last more than a few months of the year, you probably don’t want to keep medicating the symptoms. A better solution may be allergy immunotherapy. Allergy immunotherapy desensitizes the body to allergy triggers so that it stops reacting to them in the first place. It treats the underlying allergy—not just its symptoms. The challenge with allergy shots is that they are not usually recommended for kids under age 7. They can also strike fear in the hearts of needle-phobic kids and cost Mom and Dad a lot of time in driving back and forth to the doctor’s office for injections.
- Sublingual immunotherapy (oral allergy drops). Under-the-tongue allergy drops for kids work much like allergy shots, exposing the body to allergy triggers so that it can develop immunity to them. Allergy drops have been shown to be safe for children under age 5, so they are not as age-restrictive as shots. They are also safer than shots, so they can be taken in the comfort of home rather than under direct physician supervision. Drops should be taken once a day. They are dispensed under the tongue and are absorbed into the bloodstream through special cells in the mouth.
Food allergies are on the rise in U.S. kids. Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that children’s food allergies increased by 50 percent between 1997 and 2011. In addition, peanut and tree nut allergies more than tripled in roughly that same time period. Until now, the only option for kids was to trigger foods. But thanks to sublingual immunotherapy, there is now help for kids’ food allergies.
Allergy shots haven’t been shown to be a safe and effective food allergy treatment, but allergy drops have. Treatment starts with a food allergy test kit. Physicians can then prescribe sublingual immunotherapy according to the tests’ results. Kids can take the allergy treatment drops daily to help them tolerate more foods. The drops can provide food allergy treatment for dozens of the most prevalent allergens, including milk, nuts, wheat, and more.