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Childhood Allergies And How To Identify Them

allergies anaphalactic shock babysitter foodstoavoid Mar 23, 2022

An allergy is a way the immune system responds to an irritant. In children, they can be seen as skin rashes, hay fever- runny eyes and sneezing, or a tight chest and a real struggle with breathing. When children experience an allergic reaction they can get quite stressed so knowing how to identify and respond to the reaction is key.

When a child experiences an allergic reaction always try and place where you have been or what the child has been playing with in order to identify what the allergy they have been exposed to might be. For example, if the child's skin is raised and itchy were they playing amongst some nettles, or have they come into contact with a dangerous bulb in the garden? Has the child been stroking the stray cat from next door and is now allergic to its fur? Or have they found and sprayed your perfume bottle in your babysitter bag? 

If the reaction is mild: 

- Monitor the child and watch if the allergic reaction gets worse

- Put a damp cloth on the skin to keep the child cool and to reduce any swelling

If the reaction gets worse then contact the parent to let them know what is going on and seek some medical help ( contact 111) to advise further. 

Many parents do not know that their child is allergic to something until their child has a reaction to it. As the babysitter, you could be the first person a child has an allergic reaction in front of, and therefore it is important that you know how to spot one.

Things to look out for include: 

  1. Itchiness of the skin
  2. Vomiting and diarrhea
  3. A raised bumpy rash
  4. Runny eyes or runny nose
  5. A lot of sneezing
  6. A tight chest and difficulty in breathing

These are minor reactions to an allergy but if for any reason these develop into a more serious reaction you will notice that the child has: 

  1. A swollen face
  2. A swollen mouth and tongue
  3. Difficulty in breathing
  4. Difficulty in swallowing
  5. Uncontrollable scratching of an area such as their neck

With a more serious reaction, it is likely that the child is having an anaphylactic shock which is very serious as the reaction can cause swelling of the airway, causing them to stop breathing. The child will need immediate help and you will need to call emergency ( 999) services who will send an ambulance immediately. If a child has a known allergy then they would already carry an epi-pen with them which you must use. It is important to check if a child is allergic to anything with the parents before the booking begins as the whereabouts of this epi-pen are vital. If a child stops breathing, the emergency operator will talk you through what to do next until the ambulance arrives. 

The most common foods which might cause an allergic reaction are nuts, shellfish, dairy products, and eggs. Allergic reactions can also be caused by bee and wasp stings, latex, and some medications. Make sure to be aware of these before babysitting for a family.

Have you been in a situation where a child has had an allergic reaction in your care? If you have, let us know how you managed it at [email protected]

 

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