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Managing Allergies And Asthma: Tips For Tweens

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health coverage, explores the importance of allergy and asthma management, common allergens and triggers, and tips for tweens to manage their symptoms.

“According to the National Institutes of Health, allergies and asthma frequently begin in infancy and last throughout adulthood. Although neither can be cured, research shows that they may generally be controlled with careful treatment,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

“While allergies and asthma often go together, they are two different conditions. Not everybody with allergies has asthma, but most people with asthma have allergies.”

Allergy Symptoms in Tweens

Allergies develop when the immune system responds to a foreign material, such as pollen, mould, insect bites or stings (including bee venom), pet dander, or even particular foods.

In tweens, allergies can manifest through several symptoms, which can range from mild to severe:

Nasal Symptoms: These include sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, nasal congestion, and itchy or watery eyes. These are often symptoms of seasonal allergies, commonly known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis.

Skin Reactions: Allergic reactions can also appear on the skin. Symptoms include hives, red, itchy welts; eczema, marked by dry, itchy skin; and contact dermatitis, which occurs when the skin reacts to allergens it has touched. 

Respiratory Symptoms: While these can overlap with asthma, allergic reactions alone can cause coughing and wheezing, mainly if the tween is allergic to airborne substances.

Gastrointestinal Issues: Food allergies can provoke stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhoea, and nausea. It is crucial to distinguish these from more common digestive issues as they can lead to severe reactions like anaphylaxis.

Asthma Symptoms in Tweens

Asthma is a chronic condition that affects the airways in the lungs, making breathing difficult.

In tweens, asthma can be influenced by both environmental factors and genetics.

Symptoms to watch for include:

 Frequent Coughing: This can be especially noticeable at night or during exercise, potentially interrupting sleep or physical activity.

Wheezing: A whistling sound when breathing out is a classic sign of asthma. The narrowing of the airways causes it.

Shortness of Breath: Tweens with asthma may often feel out of breath or try to avoid activities they previously enjoyed because they cause breathing difficulties. 

Chest Tightness: This symptom can be described as feeling like something is squeezing or sitting on the chest, making breathing uncomfortable.

Interaction between Allergies and Asthma

Allergies and asthma often coexist and can exacerbate each other. Allergic rhinitis, for instance, can lead to inflamed airways that are more sensitive and reactive, which can trigger asthma symptoms. In turn, asthma can make the respiratory symptoms of allergic reactions more severe.

Managing Allergies and Asthma in Tweens

Management of these conditions involves a combination of lifestyle adjustments, medication, and monitoring. Affinity Health provides some strategies:

Identify and Avoid Triggers: Knowing what triggers your tween’s allergies or asthma and minimising exposure is fundamental. This may mean avoiding pets, dust mites, certain foods, or pollen.

Medication: There are various medications available that can help manage both allergies and asthma. Antihistamines can reduce allergic reactions, while inhalers and other medications can help control asthma. Always consult a healthcare provider to find the most effective and safe medicines.

Regular Check-ups: Regular visits to a healthcare provider are essential for monitoring the tween’s condition and adjusting treatment plans as needed.

Education: Educate your tween about their condition. Understanding what triggers their symptoms and how to use their medication correctly empowers them to manage their health.

Exercise and Diet: Encourage regular exercise and a healthy diet to strengthen the immune system and improve overall health. However, be mindful of exercise-induced asthma and food allergies.

Allergy Proofing: Take steps to reduce allergens in your home. Use allergen-proof bed covers, remove carpets if necessary, and keep the environment clean and dust-free.


Recognising and managing the symptoms of allergies and asthma in tweens is essential for their health and well-being. With careful monitoring and management strategies, tweens can lead active and fulfilling lives despite these challenges. It is also beneficial to foster an environment where they feel supported and understood, which is crucial for their emotional and physical health.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health coverage provider, offering you a range of options at affordable rates, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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