Allergy control, while difficult for any child, becomes especially important for a child with special needs. Parents, teachers and other caregivers should always be on the lookout for any physical signs of an allergic reaction with the child. Examples include itching, hives, watery eyes, difficulty breathing, etc. At the first sign of an allergic reaction, it is important to contact a physician. Also, always be clear with anyone who comes in contact with the child what the allergen is so that no contamination can happen, even if accidental.
Food allergies can be especially dangerous for children with special needs. Those who have communication limitations may not be able to voice their allergy to caregivers during meal times. Children with other health problems that experience an allergic reaction from food can have their conditions worsened. Most importantly, many food allergies can cause a life threatening situation for the child. Parents of special needs children with food allergies should take steps to make sure their child does not come in contact with any form of the allergen. This can mean checking with a school or care provider to see if the allergen is banned in lunches and/or snacks served. For example, many school districts are now switching to a “peanut-free” status to help ease the burden on those with food allergies.
One of the most common types of allergens for sufferers of all age groups is household allergens. This includes dust mites, pollen, pet dander, chemicals used in cleaning and more. Most physicians can help parents determine whether or not their special needs child is allergic to any common household allergens. Specialty pillows, blankets, sheets and other bedding can be purchased to help eliminate a reaction. Other times, simple changes in household routine can help limit exposure for the child.
Other Common Allergens
There are also other common allergens that affect a great majority of people, yet are often overlooked. For example, those with a latex allergy need to be aware of exposure to balloons, rubber bands, bandages, gloves and more. A person with an allergy to insect bites should use caution when outdoors. Caregivers and parents of special needs children with common allergies should constantly be on the lookout for items containing the allergen in order to protect the health of the child.