If your child has been begging for a pet or for a different kind of pet than you currently have, then you should be concerned about allergies. Even if you think your child has no allergies, they often make their appearance soon after you get a new pet. Here are things you should do to guard your child against pet-related allergies as well as a few tips on living with allergies after you get your new pet.
Know the Signs of an Allergic Reaction
Signs of an allergic reaction are easy to miss, especially if you have other children who don't have them. Children with allergies may seem to have a constant runny nose or cough a lot like they have a cold. Colds symptoms, however, should not last more than a few days, while allergy symptoms are almost always ongoing. These symptoms may improve when your child is away from the allergen for a while.
See Your Child's Pediatrician for Testing
If you notice that your child is having problems breathing or seems to be sick often, then the next step is to see a pediatrician. Tell the doctor that you are thinking of getting a new pet or have just gotten one and agree to having your child tested for allergies. Most allergy testing involves skin tests done on the back or arm. Blood tests can be done under certain circumstances.
Minimize Risk of Allergen Exposure
If the test results indicate that your child is allergic to the potential new pet, then it is best to choose a different pet instead. If this is not possible or you already have the pet in your home, then minimize the exposure risk. Allergy shots are effective at desensitizing some people, but they are not always successful. Keep the pet out of your child's room and limit your child's contact with the pet. Someone other than the child should groom and do the majority of the pet's care. Medications may also reduce the severity of the allergic reaction.
In general, it is better to be prepared before you pick out a new pet for your child. In some cases, allergic reactions to pets can be life-threatening. It can be quite an emotional experience if you get the pet first and then have to give it away due to allergies. If you are thinking of getting a new pet or you notice your child appears to have a lot of colds or breathing problems, then see a pediatrician for an examination and testing. Get in touch with a clinic such as Kitsap Children's Clinic LLP to learn more.