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Ask the Doctor: Kids Allergies

You have questions on kids’ allergies, and AllerMates has answers… from the best and brightest doctors, of course! See below for our most commonly received questions, as well as what our featured doctor has to say about each.

Dr Jennifer Sherman is a physician at Summit Medical Group in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. She is board certified in pediatrics, and allergy and immunology. Dr Sherman is a passionate advocate on national and local levels for patients with food allergy. She was named the honorary medical chair for the FAANs annual food allergy walk, serves as medical advisor to local support groups, is active in educating area school nurses, and frequently delivers lectures to other physicians on the subject of food allergy. Dr Sherman lives in New Jersey with her husband and their three sons.

Q. When is a child old enough to self-inject an automatic epinephrine injector?


Kids with allergies should never be without an epinephrine injector nearby, but generally until they reach high school age, it is best used by an adult. Young children may not recognize early signs or might hesitate to inject themselves at the onset. Even older, responsible kids can have difficulty using an injector during an allergic reaction, so why risk a last-second slip that misses the dose? A responsible adult can help make sure that the injection is administered properly and help the child remain calm until emergency personnel take over.

Q. Is it safe for my 12 year-old kid who is allergic to fish to go fishing?


It should be okay for your son or daughter to go fishing, but they should handle fish with gloves and of course, don’t eat any fish! As always, keep emergency medication on hand in case of a reaction.

Q. We are flying with my peanut allergic child for the first time. Airborne allergies on planes– what are you thoughts on this? Should we be nervous when peanuts are being passed around?


The compounds that give off a peanut aroma can’t cause an allergic reaction, so the smell of someone eating nearby isn’t harmful. Smelling peanuts in a confined space is not the same as inhaling or ingesting particles that could potentially cause a reaction.

Nonetheless, be sure your child’s emergency medication is with you on the plane and that airline personnel are aware of your child’s allergy. Not only should medications be on hand in case of an emergency, but checked luggage can be lost or subjected to extreme temperatures.

Q. What do I do with my auto injectors after they have expired?


Your allergist and some pharmacies can dispose of your expired auto-injectors properly.

Q.If my child is having an allergic reaction and I’m not sure whether to use Benadryl or epinephrine and decide to err on the side of caution and use epinephrine– can I cause any harm to my child?


When in doubt, always use the epinephrine and go to the emergency room. Epinephrine is not harmful when used in young, healthy patients and it could be a life-saving decision.