Outdoor Fun for Allergic Kids? Absolutely! Just Be Prepared

After the cooler weather subsides and winter seems far behind us, many of us are all too ready to head out into the sunshine. The feeling of freedom from monitoring our indoor allergies, the wonderful warmth on our skin during warmer days and splashing around in a pool make our days a little less nerve-wracking. For parents, watching our children run freely and breathing fresh air leaves us exhaling and settling into a season of hopeful happiness. For children, it’s a time of year to peel off your socks, kick off those shoes and rip off the heavy clothing so that they can feel the sunshine on their faces again.

Without thinking, we bound into the next season but where there is an all too perfect scenario, there may be some circumstances that catch us off guard. Of course those with allergies always have that silent voice in the back of their mind telling them to be cautious, to be prepared. But what about symptoms that leave us concerned and unsure of what the safety of our health is? How do we know what to watch for so that we can be as prepared as possible and be able to tackle it with less anxiety?

Knowledge about allergies and allergy triggers is always being updated. The best way to combat a situation is to have the necessary information to assess the situation before or as it happens. Although it is impossible to know everything that could happen, there are some factors that may be able to be prevented or, in the very least, considered so that you stay calm and save the meltdowns for another time. A key element to remember is that not all symptoms come from foods.

Urticaria Also known as hives. Anyone with food allergies often associate hives with coming in contact or ingesting an allergic food. Because hives are commonly a red flag to what we need to avoid next to prevent anaphylaxis, the appearance of hives may cause us to jump to the worst case scenario. Without a doubt, always err on the side of caution first however urticaria can also appear from other triggers that may not be as severe or life-threatening. Some forms of urticaria are caused by:

  • Water – Aquagenic urticaria are hives that appear when the skin comes into contact with water, regardless of the temperature. Once the water is removed, the hives usually disappear within approximately 30 minutes.
  • Sunlight– Also known as photosensitivity, this form of urticaria is believed to be caused by the immune system reacting to sun-exposed skin as it thinks it’s a foreign item. Exposure time that sets off the reaction can begin with as little as just a few moments in the sunlight. Because the severity of exposure varies from person to person, it is best to discuss your symptoms with your physician.
  • Plants– Our skin is delicate and since it’s our first line of defense, it makes our skin more prone to fighting off anything that feels unlike what is supposed to be us. This means that sometimes just passing by a plant that you are allergic to or other plants with oils (such as poison ivy or oak) tells our skin that there is an invader about. You can protect yourself with long sleeves and pants, get tested for environmental allergies and always wash up with soap and water to avoid spreading to other areas of your body that was not exposed.

Alpha-Gal allergy has been an increasing story lately. For those who haven’t heard, this is an allergy to red meat but also (possibly) due to some ingredients in medications that “includes antibodies derived from animals” from the bite of the lone star tick. Most of the symptoms of alpha-gal allergy are similar to typical allergic reactions however anaphylaxis is said to be delayed after eating red meat versus an immediate onset that happens with typical food allergies. While many of us are trying to avoid ticks due to Lyme Disease, the thought of developing an allergy to foods from a non-food source introduces a brand new set of fears. Avoiding ticks is a given but consulting with a physician and having two auto injectors on hand for possible future anaphylaxis is a must along with a new food plan that will not include red meats or medications that contain ingredients from mammals. Auto injectors are typically prescribed for those with food allergies and although this allergy may be somewhat difficult to pinpoint, having two auto injectors to prepare you in the event that a future allergic reaction occurs will keep you one step ahead of an unexpected emergency but two steps ahead of your immune system’s safety as well.

With all of this being said, don’t fear the warmer weather, embrace it. Teach your family how to spot symptoms and how to play safely. Always use the buddy system and carry all of your necessary allergy medications to be one step ahead of the unexpected. Above all, remain calm and remember that life is too short to let any allergy keep you from spending time with your family.

About the Author

Tracy Bush is the founder and President of Nutrimom, Inc., also known as Nutrimom - Food Allergy Liason, a consulting business that specializes in providing guidance and support for anyone that has been diagnosed with food allergies. Tracy helps others with simple steps, such as finding safe, wholesome foods to supplement allergenic foods, where to shop and how to maximize their budget while adjusting to their dietary change. You can view additional information about what she does as well as her new e-book "The Stepping Stones to Food Allergies" at www.AllergyPhoods.com. Tracy is a member of the PedSafe Expert team


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