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Overcoming Obstacles: How Allergies Get in the Way of Good Grades

Photo credit: iStock/Imgorthand

Photo credit: iStock/Imgorthand

School is back in session—and, unfortunately, so are seasonal allergies.

It’s hard enough returning to the classroom after a carefree summer break, but it’s especially tough for students with allergies or asthma. Experts believe allergy and asthma-related problems can greatly affect performance in the classroom and increase absenteeism. That’s why it’s important to recognize the effects of allergies on children and what you can do to properly treat your loved ones.

If your child appears to be suffering from a cold that just won’t quit this fall, chances are it’s allergic rhinitis, which can present with a runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing and nasal congestion. Allergies can also often directly affect asthma, causing shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.

In the fall, a ragweed allergy is a primary culprit for these types of symptoms, but it’s not the only allergen that can trigger allergic rhinitis in students. Dust mite and mold allergies can be exacerbated when kids return to school—while parents can take steps to minimize exposure in the home, they have less control over the classroom environment.

While your initial inclination may be to treat symptoms with over-the-counter allergy medicines, some can actually make things worse for students. Antihistamines can cause drowsiness, dizziness and dry mouth, while decongestants can increase heart rate and leave kids feeling jittery and anxious.

The best way to combat allergies and asthma is by speaking with an expert. The physicians at Allergy & Asthma Specialists can schedule a consultation that doesn’t interfere with classes and figure out the best form of treatment based on individual allergens.

If allergy medicines or nasal sprays don’t do the trick, your physician may recommend immunotherapy for your son or daughter. For patients allergic to ragweed exclusively, Ragwitek, the sublingual allergy tablet is available and prescribed by Allergy & Asthma Specialists. For multiple allergies, subcutaneous immunotherapy injections (allergy shots) may be considered. If your child is nervous about needles, then sublingual immunotherapy drops that go under the tongue (and at home!) might be a better option.

With the right management of your child’s allergies, they will be back to A-plus performance in no time.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit the Allergy & Asthma Specialists website or call 1-800-86-COUGH.