Please be advised that this is not intended to treat any issue if you have a child that is need of first aid seek medical attention immediately.
It is essential that all Child Care directors, providers, teachers, assistants, and administrators, whether in nurseries, preschools, daycares, and in-home Child Care settings, know the common allergy triggers in children. Children that are in your care may have allergic reactions to food, animal dander, insect bites or stings, and tree and plant pollen. A significant way for Child Care facilities to make sure that children are kept safe is by being prepared for allergic reactions.
In Child Care settings, food allergies are relatively common. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, these eight different foods account for 90% of food allergies:
- Tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts)
- Soy (which is widely used in foods that are processed)
- Fish (salmon, halibut, tuna)
- Shellfish (crab, shrimp, lobster, clams, oysters, scallops, mussels)
Signs and symptoms of food allergies
Food allergy reactions can vary from child to child. Sometimes children have different responses at different times. So, it’s important to be able to identify and treat food allergy reactions quickly.Reactions can be very mild and involve one part of the body like hives on the skin and more severe will include more than one part of the body, and these reactions can happen anywhere between a few minutes or up to two hours after having contact with the food.
Symptoms can include:
- Trouble breathing
- Throat tightness
- Belly pain
- Itchy, watery, or swollen eyes
- Red spots
- A drop in their blood pressure, which could cause lightheadedness or loss of consciousness
Many children are allergic to cats and/or dogs, and symptoms can arise when they’re around them. A child who is allergic to a cat or dog could also be sensitive to other common pets such as guinea pigs, rabbits, or hamsters.
Signs and symptoms of pet allergies
Even if a pet is not present at the time, a child can still show signs and symptoms, because at one point there was an animal in the environment. These are the following pet allergy symptoms a child could experience if they have pet allergies:
- A runny or stuffy nose
- Facial pain from nasal congestion
- Watery, red, or itchy eyes
- Coughing, tightness in their chests, shortness of breath and wheezing
- Skin rash or hives
- Insect Bites And Stings
After an insect bite or sting, most children will develop redness, swelling, and some itching others may have a more serious allergic reaction. The degree of the allergy will depend on the child’s reaction to the sting or bite. In rare situations, a child may have a severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis.Most insect bites and stings are not poisonous and are caused by mosquitoes, flies, wasps, bees, and spiders. Other insects that could cause an allergic reaction are honeybees, hornets, yellow jackets, and fire ants.
Signs and symptoms of insect bites and stings
The symptoms of an insect bite or sting can vary depending on the child’s sensitivity to that insect. If a child has been bitten or stung by an insect, they could be showing the following:
- A widespread rash (hives) or severe itching
- Wheezing, coughing or choking
- Difficulty in breaking and swallowing
- Swelling of the lips or tongue
- Pale face
Tree and Plant Pollen Allergies
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, pollen allergies are pretty common amongst kids and affects 6.6. million worldwide. When airborne pollen from trees, grass, weeds, and flowers enter the eyes, nose, or throat, it can set off an allergic reaction.
Signs and symptoms of pollen allergies
This would include:
- Itchy, swollen eyes
- Sneezing with a stuffy or runny nose
Be Prepared For Allergic Reactions In A Child Care Setting
It’s vital to be prepared on how to handle allergic reactions when you have children your care. To be allergy-safe, it’s a must that all Child Care providers do the following:
- Ask parents if the child they are enrolling in a Child Care Program has any specific allergies (whether it’s any foods, medications or other allergens such as bee stings
- Work with parents to create a plan in case that their child has an allergic reaction. Make sure if medication is required that its supplied by the parents as well as an authorization form that specifies when the Child Care provider should administer the medication and the dosage
- All staff remembers should know and understand what to do if a child has an allergic reaction and should know where the child’s epinephrine injector or other medication is, and the know-how to administer it properly
- Food should be stored out of the reach of young children. Before and after children eat, all surfaces should be clean and sanitized. All adults and children must wash their hands before and after eating and after outdoor play
- If a child in your care setting is highly allergic to certain foods than you should set rules to prohibit them
- Know your state’s Child Care Licensing regulations for Child Care providers when administering medication to children