What Are the Main Triggers for Children's Allergies?

Get to the bottom of what may be causing your kid’s indoor and outdoor allergy symptoms. 

For kids dealing with allergies, symptoms can really get in the way of their day-to-day activities. But there’s plenty that you can do to help reduce allergens and maximize their comfort. Keep reading to learn all about common allergy triggers in children.

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Adults know just how miserable allergies can be. Now, imagine how uncomfortable allergies are for children, who may have trouble describing how they feel or asking for help. Depending on their age, some children cannot speak and are therefore unable to express what’s troubling them.

There may be a genetic component to developing allergies, passed down from generation to generation, but they can also be environmental—triggered by contact with certain allergenic substances in the child’s environment. Whatever the root cause of an allergic reaction may be, it can create uncomfortable symptoms in children and impact daily activities.1

Understanding children's allergies and triggers is a crucial part of managing symptoms, especially since so many cases currently exist. A 2002 study in the United States surveyed 192,500 children between the ages of 4 and 17, representing a U.S. sample population. The survey found that more than 4% of children have some type of food allergy, 12% have respiratory allergies, and almost 10% have some type of skin allergy.2 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 8% of children between the ages of 0 and 17 living in the United States have asthma, while 7% of children have seasonal allergies. Additionally, 6.5% of children have reported some type of food allergy.3,4

In this article, we’re covering the different types of children's allergies, the main triggers that affect children, and what you—as parents and guardians—can do to help relieve symptoms and avoid future allergy flare-ups.

What Can Trigger Allergies in Children?

It's essential to understand the triggers behind children's allergies so that you know how to best protect your little ones. By staying informed, it’s possible to help your child avoid triggers and find relief from recurring symptoms. Common types of allergies seen in children include respiratory, skin, and food allergies. Each allergy type can cause varying symptoms and has different preventative methods, including these listed below.4,5 

Respiratory allergies

Respiratory allergies are often seen in young children. Well-known examples include children's allergic rhinitis and asthma. Among the most common symptoms of allergic rhinitis in children are an itchy nose, eyes, or throat—as well as sneezing, runny nose, and nasal congestion. Respiratory allergies are triggered by inhaling allergens in the environment, such as mold spores, dust mites, and pollen. In addition, exposure to cigarette smoke or smoke from wood-burning stoves, cat and dog hair, and viral infections are also listed as some of the potential triggers of respiratory allergies in children.1,6

To prevent the discomfort caused by respiratory allergies, it's important that children are accurately diagnosed by a doctor and receive proper and timely medical attention. The goal of treatment with medication is to control symptoms in their environment and limit exposure to triggers that may compromise their quality of life.1

House cleaning is also an essential factor, which can help to eliminate dust mites and mold and reduce the amount of dust and pet hair. If possible, unscented products should be used. Always keep your rugs and carpets clean, and if you can avoid having them in your home, even better. Books and stuffed animals should be cleaned regularly to avoid dust and dust mites from accumulating. Store unused pillows, mattresses, blankets, and bedding in tightly closed bags, and always wash them in hot water right before use to eliminate possible allergens.

Additionally, it’s recommended that parents and guardians keep a well-ventilated home environment and refrain from smoking around children, especially in enclosed indoor spaces.1,6

Skin allergies

Children's skin allergies are caused when a child’s skin comes into contact with an allergen, triggering an allergic reaction. This may sometimes trigger eczema (atopic dermatitis), which causes itchy and dry skin. Additionally, hives—which cause swelling and itchy red bumps or patches on the skin—can occur as a reaction to allergens coming in contact with a child’s skin.7,8

For children with hives, the most common triggers include infections, medication use, and food. One study has also indicated that there may be a relationship between the onset of hives and changes in weather, exposure to heat and cold, and stress. The most frequent triggers for eczema, meanwhile, include excessive sweating, contact with heat, anxiety, and infections. Food allergies may also worsen symptoms.8,9,10 

Insect bite allergies are also common in children, particularly in tropical, hot, and humid climates. Any insect that bites has the potential to cause an allergic reaction—including mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks. The reason behind this type of allergy in children is a hypersensitivity to antigens present in the insect's saliva, which may cause redness, itching, or lesions in the form of pustules or blisters. As hard as it may be, children with insect bite allergies should be encouraged not to scratch, as doing so can lead to further injury and secondary bacterial infections.1,11,12

To avoid skin allergies in children, it’s sometimes recommended to use fragrance-free skincare products and keep the skin well-hydrated through the use of emollient moisturizers. For insect bite allergies, using a children’s insect repellent and protective clothing are two important preventative measures. Finally, paying attention to the onset of symptoms and talking with your pediatrician is also essential for managing allergies in children. Identifying triggers can help you avoid future allergy flare-ups in your children.1,10,13

How To Manage Children’s Indoor and Outdoor Allergy Triggers

Now that you know the main types of allergies in children, remember that it's essential to seek medical attention as soon as your child shows any allergy symptoms. Once you have visited a medical professional and received a proper diagnosis, you can make the necessary changes in your routine to help avoid triggers that lead to allergy symptoms.

Children’s Allegra® is here to help.

Your child’s days shouldn’t be spent waiting for allergy symptoms to pass. Children’s Allegra® offers long-lasting (12-hour), effective, non-drowsy relief for allergy symptoms. With Children’s Allegra®, they can live their greatness and stay on top of symptoms like sneezing, a runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, or itchy nose or throat without impacting their ability to concentrate due to drowsiness.

With a range of kid-friendly products to choose from—including Children's Allegra® Allergy 12 Hour Dissolve Tabs and Children's Allegra® Allergy 12 Hour Liquid—you’re sure to find the one that works best for your child’s indoor and outdoor allergy symptoms. No matter which product you choose for your family’s needs, you can feel good knowing Children’s Allegra® is the #1 allergist recommended brand for non-drowsy allergy relief.

Find the Children’s Allegra® product that’s right for you


1. Chad, Z. “Allergies in children.” Paediatrics & child health vol. 6,8 (2001): 555-66. doi:10.1093/pch/6.8.555

2. Xu G, Liu B, Yang W, Snetselaar LG, Chen M, Bao W, et al. “Association of Food Allergy, Respiratory Allergy, and Skin Allergy with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder among Children.” Nutrients [Internet] 2022;14(3):474.

3. “Asthma in Children.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 June 2019.

4. “Allergies and Hay Fever.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 Dec 2021.

5. “Children.” American College of Allergies, Asthma, and Immunology. 2022.

6. “Hay Fever.” Mayo Clinic. 2022

7. “Skin Allergy.” American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. 2022.

8. Shin M, Lee S. “Prevalence and Causes of Childhood Urticaria.” Allergy Asthma Immunol Res. 2017;9(3):189-190.

9. Lee SJ, Ha EK, Jee HM, Lee KS, Lee SW, Kim MA, et al. “Prevalence and Risk Factors of Urticaria With a Focus on Chronic Urticaria in Children.” Allergy Asthma Immunol Res. 2017;9(3):212-219.

10. Lyons JJ, Milner JD, Stone KD. “Atopic dermatitis in children: clinical features, pathophysiology, and treatment.” Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2015;35(1):161-183.

11. “Insect Bite.Seattle Children's Hospital, 2022.

12. “Mosquito Bite Symptoms and Treatment.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 6 March 2020.

13.  “Prevent Mosquito Bites.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 11 July 2022.

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Among single-ingredient branded OTC oral antihistamines.

This article is not a substitute for medical advice. Allegra should be used as directed according to the product label. If you suspect that you have allergies, consult with your doctor or an allergist. Only they can make a proper diagnosis.