By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.

An estimated 40-45 million Americans (15-20% of the population) have some type of allergy and, in most people; these allergies first appear during infancy or childhood. Allergies are the leading cause of poor health in children.

The tendency to develop allergies is inherited from parents. If one parent is allergic (has hay fever or allergic asthma) the chance of a child having allergies is about 40 percent. If both parents are allergic, the chance increases to nearly 75 percent. In some cases, there is no evidence of a hereditary nature of the allergy.

Children's allergies can make life miserable. They are caused by many different factors, from pet hair to pollen and dust. Children's allergies can cause runny noses, itchy eyes and bouts of sneezing, not to mention throat irritation.

The following are some pointers on potential problem spots for children with allergies and quick tips to help children and their parents effectively manage allergies.

Remember, there are three basic steps in dealing with any children's allergies:

Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center,