The challenge of raising healthy kids with allergies, asthma

PHILADELPHIA - October 23, 2013

His mother, Stephanie Arriviello, explains, "He is allergic to trees, grass, dust, molds, weeds, cats and dogs."

His mother says that as a toddler, Christopher always seemed congested. It would lead to asthma flare ups or respiratory infections. So he was tested to identify his triggers.

Dr. Nicholas Pawlowski is an allergy specialist at Children's Hospital. He explained to us that allergies often fall into seasons, so parents should look for patterns.

Are the problems worse in the spring or summer when kids are outdoors more, or are they worse in fall or winter - the 'indoor' season?

The first tactic is to cut a child's exposure to the allergens, such as using air conditioning in spring and summer. Or have your child change clothes after being outside.

Because Christopher's allergies were complex, Dr. Pawlowski recommended weekly shots that would desensitize him to his triggers.

"For pollen and eyes and nose, allergy shots are really very good," said Dr. Pawlowski. "I've never had anyone not respond."

And at the first sign of an asthma problem, Christopher's mom starts an action plan designed to head off a full-scale attack. That and the shots have made a difference.

Stephanie says, "Here we are, 8 weeks into the school year, and he hasn't missed a day of school."

Now Christopher's allergies and asthma don't get in the way.

His mom says it may take time and attention to stay ahead of them. But it keeps him out of the hospital.

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