Dr. Magryta: Allergy season and school – what’s your plan?
The goal for parents and educators is to limit missed or unproductive school days due to asthma and allergies and to get the most out of the learning environment for all children.
Here are some important tips:
1) Start all medicines, herbs and treatments before the season of the child’s trigger allergens begins. Compliance is the key to success, especially when it comes to asthma medicines. The prevention-based medicines (not albuterol) are the keys to avoiding flares and missed days of school for the child, and work for the parent. Always use medicines as directed including spacer devices for inhalers. These are critical to success.
2) Help your child know what they react to and teach them to avoid these triggers. Think of a glass of water as a glass of triggers. If it is overflowing, then you are sick. Therefore, if you eliminate some of the water via trigger avoidance, then you can exercise or even catch a viral cold and still avoid an overflow state.
3) If your child is taking sublingual allergy prevention drops, make sure that they take them as directed, which is usually three times a day. This therapy retrains the immune system to not react.
4) Discuss your child’s triggers with his or her teacher in order to have an avoidance plan.
5) Visit the school classroom and attempt to identify known triggers and have them eliminated if possible, e.g. mold.
6) If your child has a food allergy, there is a critical education need for the school and cafeteria employees to be aware of the food antigen triggers. Have your child meet with the staff so as to encourage a sense of comfort in asking questions when he is in the food line. Make sure that your child understands the risk of food trading. Many anaphylactic events occur because of unsuspected food trading.
7) Emergency plans are the key to survival for food allergies and asthma or the combination. Have a prevention and treatment meeting with the nurse, teacher, child, coach, staff and anyone that may be a part of the child’s day.
8) Look into supplements like D Hist or Zyflammend for allergy immune reduction.
9) As always, an anti-inflammatory diet is the key to reducing the inflammatory gasoline source in the body that worsens all disease.
Daily — It all starts in the gut. Diet is the key. Dramatically increase your consumption of colored vegetables and fruits for the micronutrients that they are loaded with. Green leafy vegetables and berries are highest on the list of beneficial foods. Lots of fiber promotes healthy bacteria that dampen the immune system and enhance healing.
Reduce animal protein intake which can overstimulate the immune system and keep the body inflamed. Always choose grass fed and hormone free meats. When you ingest beef that is finished with corn, you cause more inflammation to your gut and worsen your allergies. Same issue with farm raised fish. Avoid dairy where possible.
10) Consider a high quality probiotic like Ther Biotic for gut health. Vitamin D and zinc sufficiency are very important for a healthy immune system. It is worth testing these micronutrient levels and supplementing as needed.
11) A very useful therapy is nasal washing. Use a neti pot or sinus rinse with sterile water to clear out allergens twice daily. Consider a shower to wash off pollen after being outdoors for a while. Use high quality house filters and consider a HEPA filter machine in your bedroom.
12) Consuming omega 3 fats as fish oil or small oily fish in your diet is a good way to reduce the eicosanoid inflammatory overload in allergies. Americans are flooded with omega 6 fats that are pro-inflammatory while we are insufficient in the beneficial omega 3 fats based on historical norms.
I am a big fan of sublingual immunotherapy, SLIT, which has proven especially helpful for children with eczema, asthma, and recurrent ear infections. These disorders often have underlying allergic causes. I have been using SLIT with my patients for years with great results. We know that treating children for specific allergies including dust mite, pollens and food can significantly benefit conditions such as eczema and allergic rhinitis.
Be allergy free,
Dr. Chris Magryta is a physician at Salisbury Pediatric Associates. Contact him at email@example.com