MIAMI, FL – As families prepare to send their kids back to school they have to plan not just for the expected, but for the unexpected. New classrooms and schoolyards can expose students to new allergens that parents might not even know to warn their children about.
While parents of kids with allergies, already receiving proper medical treatment, know they must prepare their children by discussing items to avoid in their friends’ lunches, equip them with prescribed epinephrine and inhalers, and actively implement emergency action plans with teachers and school nurses, the parents of undiagnosed children are not watching out for common allergy triggers found on school grounds. Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care shares important information about various, silent yet unquestionable, allergy and asthma triggers found on school premises to keep your children safe this school year.
Dust and dust mite –Many children end up having to sit through class in utter physical discomfort and even miss entire days of school, stemming from inadequately cleaned classrooms. Dust is a combination of many substances, but is usually composed of dust mites (microscopic organisms that live in any woven material like beanbags, carpets and rugs), cockroach particles, fungi (mold) and pet allergens (dander, fur, feathers, saliva). Be on the lookout if your child mostly presents his symptoms during classroom time. Symptoms include sneezing, wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath.
Mold and mildew – Both are types of fungi found in high moisture, low light places (e.g., a classroom that has been closed off for summer vacation). One would think mold and mildew only cause harm when obviously present in dingy spaces, but that is not the case. Even the smallest trace can induce minor to acute asthma symptoms in kids who are allergic to these fungi and are exposed at school. Mold can grow anywhere from kitchens, bathrooms and basements to rotting logs, fallen leaves and on grasses and grains. Mildew can grow on living plants, paper, wood and even leather. Symptoms include sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy throat or ears, headaches, hives, swollen eyelids and itchy eyes. Left untreated these symptoms can induce more complicated asthma symptoms like persistent coughing, wheezing and trouble breathing.
Sudden changes in temperature – For the majority of people, changes in weather are not a problem at all, as their bodies react accordingly to compensate any irritation of the airways that may be caused by extreme cold, hot or air pressure conditions. However, for allergy and asthma sufferers, changes in weather pattern means a lot more than just grabbing their rain boots or putting on their warmest fleece sweatshirt, it means an onset of cold-like symptoms that make their day-to-day activities a total nightmare. Different weather settings affect people differently, and although it is impossible to control the weather, it is possible to live more comfortably by paying attention to which conditions trigger the troublesome symptoms and limit (if possible) the time of exposure. It is also especially vital to get proper evaluation, diagnosis and treatment plan from an allergist, so you know how climate changes may affect you and prepare for them in advance. Symptoms include rhinitis, sinusitis, tightness of chest, trouble breathing, which can exacerbate asthma episode. An allergist can help you to identify specific allergens, take proper precaution and medication that are vital to long-term health improvements.
Insect Bites. – Another frequent, and not so silent, school allergy culprit to be vigilant about is fire ants. Over 500,000 people enter emergency rooms suffering from insect bites every year. Fire ants can be found in the schoolyard, especially in gardens where children are learning about butterflies because they prey on caterpillars. Recognizing the difference between a normal insect bite reaction and an allergic reaction can help reduce unnecessary anxiety and prompt people to act quickly, in case of an emergency. A normal bite reaction consists of itchy, localized hives and lumps at the sting site that last from 30-60 minutes. Commonly, fire ant bites consist of multiple stings, as fire ants hold on with their jaws to bite repeatedly and are not easy to shake off, which is a dangerous problem for children severely allergic to the sting venom. A reaction that needs immediate medical attention consists of itching, hives and swelling in areas other than sting site, abdominal cramping, swelling of the tongue, difficulty swallowing or hoarse voice, dizziness or sharp drop in blood pressure, and unconsciousness or cardiac arrest.
With 17 locations in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care can help you get your symptoms under control. For an office near you, visit www.florida-allergy.comor call 1-877-425-5374.
About Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care
Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care has been in business for 40 years and has board certified physicians with extensive experience in treating both adults and children. FCAAC has 17 centers throughout South Florida, serving communities in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. The Centers specialize in the testing and treatment of adults and children who suffer from allergies, asthma and other disorders of the immune system. Among the most common allergies treated are allergic skin diseases, food, drug and pet allergies. Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care Research conducts clinical trials on new medications. The goal of the FCAAC team is to provide professional and quality care resulting in total patient satisfaction.