How to Help Child Athletes Manage Their Allergies

Physical activity is good for the body, regardless of a person’s age. Exercising and playing sports can help keep the body fit and healthy. Plus, doing these with relatives or friends makes the activity more fun and exciting. 

Unfortunately, allergies can make it more difficult for children to enjoy playing basketball, baseball, soccer, or other forms of team sports. There are several different types of allergies, depending on what body part is affected. But even with allergies, young athletes can still have a normal life and continue to play the sports they love.

Consult an allergist

Summer is the best time for kids to learn a new sport or improve their skills. But before you start looking for sports camps for kids or signing up your slugger for a baseball team, see an allergist. This medical specialist will administer an allergy test to see if your child reacts to any particular allergen.

If the results are positive, your allergist will let you know what your child is allergic to and how severe the condition is. They will also prescribe medication such as antihistamine tablets and offer options that can help manage the symptoms. In addition, the allergist will teach you how to avoid triggers and what to do in case of a reaction.

Develop a prevention plan

Once you know what your child is allergic to, you can work with your allergist to create and develop a prevention plan. For instance, if your child has seasonal allergies, you can ask your allergist about your child getting allergy shots or taking antihistamines. By taking the right medication, your child can continue to play even during the spring when pollen is most abundant.

In the case of insect stings, inquire about immunotherapy or similar desensitization techniques. With immunotherapy, the allergist will administer a minute dose of insect venom. The dosage is gradually increased for three months or more until the child no longer exhibits any symptoms when exposed to the allergen.

For food allergies, you may want to pack snacks that your child can munch on during the game. If food is shared between members of the team, you will need to work with the person preparing the meals to ensure that the snacks are safe for your kid.

Develop the plan as early as possible so you can make adjustments before your child goes off to camp or starts playing sports. In some cases, your doctor may advise that your child carry an epinephrine shot. 

With early preparation, your child will begin developing the habit of observing for possible reactions, and will know what to do in case of an emergency.

Work with other adults

Let the coaches, teachers, or any adult guardians know about your child’s allergic condition. Inform them about any medications your child needs to take and when, as well as what to do in case of an emergency. This may include the epinephrine shots in the event of a severe allergic reaction.

If you are responsible for providing snacks for the team, conduct a poll with the other parents to see what snacks or drinks should be avoided. Food allergies should not be taken lightly. Once you have the information you need, consult your allergist to determine what foods can be served that are safe for all the kids on your child’s team.

Pick a suitable sport

Some forms of allergies can make playing certain types of games more challenging. For example, exercise-induced asthma or seasonal allergies can make it trickier for kids to have fun when playing sports that involve a lot of sprinting. Team sports such as basketball and soccer fall under this category.

Your child doesn’t have to quit playing these sports if he has exercise-induced asthma. Doing warmups 10 minutes before hitting the field can help their bodies cope with the activity. He can also use a quick-relief inhaler about 20 minutes before the game starts to avoid huffing and puffing during the game itself.

If your child continues experiencing difficulties, suggest trying out a different sport instead. Sports such as swimming and even baseball are less strenuous on the body but can still provide the same physical challenges.

Pack a first aid kit

Carry a first aid kit with you at all times whenever you watch your child’s games. If this is not possible, let your child carry the kit or ask the coach if you can include antihistamines and epinephrine shots in the team’s first aid kit. The objective is to have ready access to medicines that can help relieve the symptoms in case of an allergic attack.

Bringing a first aid kit is also useful if your child needs to take medications before the game. Your child may need to take antihistamines if he has seasonal allergies and will be playing on the field.

Asthma or allergies can be a challenge to manage when playing any physical activity. But by taking the time to prepare, demonstrating a bit of care, and following these tips, your child can continue to play sports and have fun while doing it.