Love is in the air— along with common allergens. February is the month to celebrate love throughout classrooms, which are adorned with chocolates, candies, various foods, and flowers— all of which contain common allergy triggers. Alongside Valentine’s Day, February is also Kids ENT (ear, nose and throat) Health Month. While pediatric ear, nose and throat issues occur year-round, now is the perfect time for parents to become familiar with how to stay two steps ahead of the festivities this month and avoid allergic reactions!

If you’re the parent or guardian of a younger, elementary-aged child that is celebrating Valentine’s Day in the classroom, be extra cautious when buying candies and treats for your child to distribute. Talk to your child’s teacher and inquire about known allergies among the students. If your homemade treat contains nuts, make sure they’re apparent and easy for someone to detect. If your own child has allergies, speak to their teacher to ensure they are aware. Also, inform your child of which items he or she cannot consume, and explain why it’s important to turn down foods that might cause an allergic reaction.

It’s crucial to be able to identify allergy symptoms as soon as they begin to develop. In mild cases, you may notice:

  • Sneezing and an itchy, runny or blocked nose
  • Itchy, red, watering eyes
  • Wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, a cough
  • A raised, itchy, red rash
  • Swollen lips, tongue, eyes or face

In rare cases, contact with an allergen can lead to a severe allergic reaction, anaphylaxis or anaphylaxis shock, which can be life-threatening. This affects the whole body and typically develops within minutes of exposure. Some symptoms you may notice, include:

  • Swelling of the throat and mouth
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lightheadedness
  • Confusion
  • Blue skin or lips
  • Collapsing and losing consciousness

In either case mentioned above, immediate and accurate identification of an allergic reaction is crucial. Share the love this month, but save the allergic reactions! Think twice about what you choose to bring to a celebration or what you send your children to school with.

The physicians of Florida E.N.T. & Allergy have served the Tampa Bay community for over 45 years. Their board certified physicians have completed extensive education and clinical training as well as specialized training in their area(s) of expertise. From pediatric allergies to fitting hearing aids, their caring and experienced physicians specialize in ear, nose and throat care for the entire family using comprehensive, cutting edge technologies.