Toddler Health

Allergy Behaviors in Children

Sleep Issues

Allergic rhinitis is the most common chronic disorder in children, according to an international study published in the April 2012 issue of "Asia Pacific Allergy." An allergic reaction to pollen that causes, sneezing, sniffling, coughing, runny nose and itching, this condition can interfere with sleep. Lack of sleep leads to fatigue and sleepiness during the day. Children with allergic rhinitis are also more likely to snore and suffer from sleep apnea.

Cognitive Changes

Allergies can interfere with your child's ability to concentrate, remember and think clearly, which can lead to poor school performance, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Medications given to treat allergic symptoms can worsen behavioral changes caused by allergies. Fluid behind the eardrums can also cause dizziness, ringing in the ears or trouble hearing, which can impact your child's school performance.

Hyperactivity or Irritability

Allergic rhinitis might increase the risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. A Thai study published in the March 2011 issue of the "Asian Pacific Journal of Allergy and Immunology" found that children with ADHD have a higher incidence of a positive pinprick test for allergies as well as a higher percentage of allergic rhinitis than children without the disorder. It's important to determine whether hyperactivity or irritability are caused by ADHD or are related to general discomfort from itching, runny nose or coughing.

Causes

It's not well understood why allergies can lead to behavioral changes. Lack of sleep from sleep disruption is the most likely cause of these behavioral changes, says the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Other researchers hypothesize that allergies cause the release of certain chemicals in the central nervous system that contribute to behavioral changes, according to a 2002 article in "Psychosomatic Medicine."

Toddlers and Allergies to Whole Grains

Types of Whole Grains

Knowing which foods count as a whole grain can help you get to the root of your toddler's food allergies. Wheat, oats, rice and popcorn are common whole grains. Bulgur, millet, cornmeal, buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, rye, barley and cornmeal are other whole grains to which your toddler might be allergic. Finding out which ones cause a reaction is vital for preventing a dangerous situation.

Symptoms

In most cases, the symptoms of a food allergy are the same, regardless of which food your toddler is allergic to. The symptoms of a whole grain allergy range in severity, and your toddler might have some and not others. Soon after ingesting the allergen, your toddler might get hives or a runny nose. He might also have trouble breathing, his tongue and lips could swell, and diarrhea, nausea and vomiting can also occur. Keeping a food journal can help you and your child's pediatrician determine which grains are producing a reaction and then test for them specifically.

Treatment

There is no cure for a food allergy, so the only way to prevent your child from having a reaction is to avoid the whole grains to which he's allergic. In some cases, your toddler's pediatrician might prescribe antihistamines to control minor reactions and an epinephrine pen for a severe reaction after accidental ingestion, notes the Mayo Clinic website. Reading labels very carefully is vital to ensuring that your little one doesn't mistakenly ingest a whole grain he shouldn't. Depending on the whole grain allergy your toddler has, it might be necessary to avoid bread, tortillas, crackers, oatmeal, cereal, pasta and alternative grains.

Tips

Raising a toddler with a food allergy can be stressful and scary, but with time, you'll get used to caring for him. Reading labels helps you find safe foods for your toddler's diet. If your toddler goes to day care, packing his meals and snacks and keeping them in a safe place ensures he has something safe to eat when you're not there. It's also a good idea to teach any person caring for your toddler to prepare her food without contaminating it. If you plan to eat in a restaurant, access its website and check out the allergen information so you can make a safe choice for your toddler when you get there. If you worry about removing whole grains from your toddler's diet, talk to his pediatrician about nutritional supplements to fill any gaps in his meal plan.

Do Babies in Daycare Get Fewer Colds Over Time?

Daycare and Colds

Although babies and toddlers in daycare may get more colds initially, their immunity is built up so they get fewer colds later in childhood according to Dr. Alan Greene, pediatrician and founder of DrGreene.com. According to February 2002 issue of the “Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine," children from ages 6 to 11 who attended daycare experienced 66 percent fewer colds than their peers who had not attended day care. Another study published in the December 2010 issue of the “Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics” found that children cared for at home before 2.5 years had fewer upper respiratory tract infections at the time, but had more of these infections during the elementary school years.

Daycare Inspection

Before choosing a daycare, visit a variety of centers to inspect the cleanliness. Daycare facilities that make cleanliness and disinfecting a priority may reduce the risk of colds. Toys should be cleaned daily at a minimum and employees should wash their hands in between interacting with each baby. Inspect the facility for sink in every room or readily available hand sanitizer. Research the daycare’s policy on sick children and the guidelines as to when children need to stay home. Ask your doctor for guidance on sick policies when considering a daycare facility. Although you want to avoid exposing your baby to illnesses, you also want to consider whether you can take off work every time your child has a mild cold symptom, such as a runny nose.

Cold Symptoms

Whether or not your child is in daycare, watch for cold symptoms. When babies have a congested nose or nasal discharge, they are often exhibiting the first signs of a cold. Other symptoms may include sneezing, coughing, a fever or tugging on his or her ears, which can indicate an ear infection. Babies sometimes have difficulty nursing or drinking from a bottle with nasal congestion, so watch for a decreased appetite. Irritability, difficulty sleeping or red eyes may also be indications of an illness.

Care for Babies with Colds

Ask daycare providers to alert you immediately if your baby is showing any signs of a cold. Infants are at a higher risk than older children for developing more serious infections, such as pneumonia, as a result of a cold. Newborns have had a very short time to build up their immunity, so they are at a higher risk for developing more serious complications. Call your doctor immediately when your baby is younger than three months and exhibits signs of a cold. As your baby grows older, your doctor will advise you when an office visit is necessary. When fighting a cold, provide your baby with plenty of fluids and use a humidifier to keep the air moist.

When Can You Not Take Your Toddler to Preschool?

How Your Toddler Feels

If your toddler is too sick to participate in activities or be comfortable at preschool, she should stay home. For example, if she feels nauseous, experiences persistent pain, seems lethargic or is persistently crying, don't take her to preschool and consider calling her pediatrician. On the other hand, if she just has the sniffles or feels a little congested but still has an appetite and seems energetic, she might be able to attend school, according to the KidsHealth.org website.

Preventing Infectious Disease

How your child feels shouldn't be the only factor you consider; it's also important to prevent your child from spreading bacteria and viruses to other children. If your child has diarrhea, a fever higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or more than one episode of vomiting, he may have a contagious disease and should not attend preschool, according to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. A widespread rash or reddened eye may also indicate an infectious disease, such as chickenpox or pinkeye. Unfortunately, children are often contagious before they have symptoms, so a sick child may have already infected others.

School Requirements

Most schools and daycare facilities have specific guidelines that stipulate when children are too sick to attend. For example, some schools won't let children return to school unless their fever has disappeared without the help of medication for at least 24 hours. Other schools and daycare facilities have specific areas for children who aren't feeling well. If you're not sure about your school's guidelines, call your child's teacher or the school nurse before taking her to school. You can also call your pediatrician to determine whether your child's symptoms are serious enough to keep her out of school.

Staying in Touch

If you decide your toddler is well enough to attend preschool, ensure you are available during the day in case she needs to go home or go to the doctor. The school should have several ways to contact you, including your cell phone and work number, and you should have a plan in case she needs to be picked up during the day.

Be Prepared! 3 Easy Ways to Fend Off a Cold and Flu

Cold and flu season may be upon us but have no fear! There are some very simple things

you can do to help fend off nasty cold and flu symptoms. No need to completely quarantine yourself from a coughing co-worker or keep your child out of daycare. All you need to do is follow these easy steps…

STEP 1: Focus on healthy lifestyle habits.

Healthy Habit #1: Get plenty of sleep. This is one of the most important habits to heed since sleep is the time when our bodies heal and recharge. You can’t expect your body to fight off cold and flu viruses with an empty gas tank. It’s crucial for adults to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and for kids to get 10-12 hours.

Healthy Habit #2: Wash your hands. Although we are surrounded by bacteria and viruses year round, we tend to be more susceptible during cold and flu season due to being indoors more, poor ventilation and being in close quarters with more people. Make sure you wash your hands regularly with a gentle germ-killing soap such as Dial® (it’s an antibacterial powerhouse). This is especially important after shaking hands or touching objects like phones and keyboards. And here’s an easy trick for making sure your kids spend enough time at the sink: Teach them to wash their hands for as long as it takes them to sing “Happy Birthday” or “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” Bye-bye, germs!

Healthy Habit #3: Drink plenty of fluids and remain hydrated. Stick to beverages like filtered water and herbal teas to keep the immune system running smoothly.

STEP 2: Keep your immune system robust through healthy nutrition.
Focus on foods like leafy green vegetables and low sugar fruits like dark berries. Avoid processed foods or any foods that come out of a box as well as high sugar foods like pastries, cookies and candy. If you need to satisfy that sweet tooth, opt for raw organic honey or 70 percent (or greater) organic dark chocolate.

STEP 3: Stock your medicine cabinet.
As the old saying goes, “an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure.” Keep some vitamin C around so that if you do get sick, you can take 1 gram per day in order to boost your immunity. Stock your house, office and purse with Scotties® tissues to help aid sniffles, sore noses and those sneezes that sneak up on you! The last thing you want is to find yourself or your child with a runny nose and nothing but an old crumpled tissue at the bottom of your purse. And since one of the top reasons for missing work is due to parents taking care of sick kids, make sure you pick up some Triaminic® products at your local drugstore. If symptoms do arise in your little ones, it can help alleviate symptoms and make them feel better while they heal so you don’t have to miss too many days of work.

With these few easy steps, you’ll be sure to breeze through this cold and flu season.

This post was paid for by Demand Media.