As a general rule, kids’ immune systems are pretty good. But when they’re dealing with health problems beyond a simple sniffle or flu bug, it can be a challenge to know how best to deal with them. Here are five health issues common to kids and a few tips for how to deal with them.
Asthma, a condition that affects the airways, can make it difficult for children to breathe. Swollen airways often produce extra mucus as well, which makes breathing even more of a challenge. Asthma attacks are triggered by dust mites, mold, pollen, animal fur, and even vigorous exercise in some children.
Discuss treatment options with a doctor. Some children only need to take medications when they have flare-ups—others need to take controller medicine every day to prevent attacks. In any case, make sure that your child has a supply of medications with them at all times, especially when you know they will be around substances that will cause their asthma to flare up. If their asthma is bad enough, make sure that they also have an inhaler with them constantly. Inform their teachers of their condition.
Everyone experiences anxiety, but kids can sometimes have anxiety disorders that cause them to feel emotional and mental stress disproportionate to the situation. Some of these disorders include
- Social anxiety
- Panic attacks
If your child suffers from anxiety, take the disorder seriously. Don’t tell them to just “tough it out.” Kids with anxiety can have trouble sleeping, concentrating, and focusing, and it’s not something they can turn on and off. Take them to a specialist who can help them work through their anxiety with therapy or medication. Don’t try to treat it on your own—kids’ anxiety needs to be dealt with by a professional therapist who can diagnose and treat the disorder correctly.
Up to 50 million Americans have allergies; millions of those people are children. An allergic reaction happens when the immune system overreacts to a certain substance that is harmless to most people (such as animal fur, peanuts, or hay). The immune system then releases chemicals to “protect” the body against these substances, which results in runny noses, wheezing, coughing, etc. as the body tries to rid itself of the invasive substance.
Allergies usually aren’t life-threatening, but they can sure make life miserable. Fortunately, there are plenty of medicines to counteract allergies. Ask your doctor for a prescription or an over-the-counter recommendation. You might have to try a few brands until you find one that works for your child.
Be aware that some allergies are life-threatening and can send your child into anaphylactic shock. In this case, make sure your child has an epipen with them at all times.
- Food Intolerances
Food allergies are easy enough to understand—they’re just like any other allergy, and the food in question gets rejected by the body’s immune system.
Intolerances are another story. Symptoms of food intolerances are similar to allergies, but they usually take longer to emerge. Additional symptoms include bloating, migraines, headaches, hives, or stomach cramps. Intolerances cannot be treated by medicine—the only treatment for intolerances is abstinence. If your child is intolerant to wheat or dairy, the only way to keep them healthy is to take it out of their diet.
If you think your child may be intolerant to certain foods, doctors can run blood and stool tests to determine what foods or additives your child reacts adversely to.
Many children are born with an under or overbite. These are nothing to worry about as long as they get proper dental and orthodontic care, say the experts at Dentrix Dental Care. Some orthodontists recommend waiting until the child has all of his or her adult teeth before starting orthodontic treatment—others prefer to begin as soon as possible to minimize future damage.
Some reasons to get treatment early:
- Minimizes negative self-images
- Resolves crowding problems that may cause further problems for incoming adult teeth
- Intercepts teeth that are erupting incorrectly or impacting
- Makes it easier to clean between crowded teeth, minimizing cavities and tooth decay
In most cases, however, orthodontists will employ the “wait and see” method. Only about 15% of orthodontic patients have handicapping oral problems. Most patients get braces primarily for cosmetic reasons, which can often wait until the child is older. Visit with an orthodontist or dentist to determine what is best for your child.
Keeping your kids healthy can be a constant battle, but don’t let your child’s health problems slow them down. Do the proper research, talk to the appropriate specialists, and both you and your child will adapt to or heal from their health concerns more quickly than you think.