Extreme Allergies in Children

As we've discussed, for most kids, having allergies is little more than a nuisance that requires a little prevention and precaution. Some children, however, have it a little harder. Extreme allergies can require frequent hospitalizations, visits to the allergist and daily oral medications or shots. In these cases, a bee sting or even a peanut can trigger severe reactions that present the risk of death.

Speaking of peanuts, they're rightly known as one of the biggest offenders when it comes to extreme allergies. About four out of five deaths from food allergies are attributed to peanuts.

Learning your child has extreme allergies (most often by witnessing alarming allergic episodes) is frightening for parents and kid alike. Sometimes these reactions take the form of an extreme case of eczema (skin rash) that can cover most of the body and even appear purple in color. During extreme allergic reactions, children may experience a sudden spike or drop in blood pressure. Anaphylactic reactions are a constant threat, and epinephrine injection pens should be an ever-present accessory at home or out and about. Fortunately, there are treatments and protective steps you can take (like carefully monitoring your child's contact with problematic foods) to greatly reduce the frequency and intensity of extreme allergic episodes.

While some allergies may be followed by a parental guessing game to determine if that was in fact an allergic reaction, extreme allergies are very self-evident. Any child with signs of allergies should receive a medical examination, and this goes double for kids who have symptoms of extreme allergies. Your pediatrician will be happy to refer you to a local allergist who will likely be a regular -- and welcome -- part of your child's life.