Today parents increasingly face such a problem as children’s allergies: over the last 25 years, the number of allergic children has increased twice or, according to some estimates, even three times. That’s why Trust Pharmacy advises paying special attention to this problem.
Theoretically, any substance which structure differs from human tissue structure, that is, any substance brought in from the outside, can elicit an immune response. But normally the body must not be mistaken, separating agents for harmful and harmless. Allergy is an abnormal reaction of the body to a substance considering it dangerous, though it is not.
A bit of science
There are two concepts that are often confused: allergy and pseudo-allergy.
The difference between them is principled, it lies in the nature of the immune response mechanism. But we are not going “into the jungle”. Let’s say that a true allergy is a hereditary disease; if one of the parents suffers from an allergy, the child will have the same allergy with a chance of 30%; if both parents suffer from an allergy, the child will be allergic with a probability up to 60%.
Pseudoallergy is a group of reactions, different in origin, most of which are somehow related by excess histamine in the body or its general intoxication. But the immune system is not originally involved in these reactions developing process. Specific causes of children’s allergies, in this case, may be different: a violation of the mechanisms of development and binding histamine or its excess amount brought in with food. For example, a large amount of this hormone is found in seafood, and chocolate promotes the production of histamine in the body.
Types of children’s allergies
- Food allergy is the most common. Allergic reactions may be caused practically by any food product, especially if it contains a large amount of histamine or substances providing a deleterious effect to the body (at a high concentration), such as dyes, preservatives, stabilizers, flavors. Children under two years old often suffer from them against a background of dysbiosis or too early feeding. In most cases, the allergic reaction is caused by cow milk, egg white, fish, some kinds of fruit and vegetables;
- Allergy to animals is also quite frequent. But in fact, it is not quite what it seems to be. It is not an allergy to hair, as people usually say, but one of the animal waste products: saliva, serum, epithelium, urine or feces;
- Allergies to pollen usually occur after 8 years old. The period of the first symptoms may help define a group of “suspected” plants: from April to May – the period of flowering trees, from June to July – meadow grasses, from August to September – weeds;
- Children’s allergy to drugs is often caused by penicillin and its derivatives, but may also occur in response to practically any group of drugs. Drug allergies can cause anaphylactic shock, so it is extremely dangerous;
- Allergy to house dust is an exaggerated reaction to the release of small mites living in our home in large quantities. Even a daily general cleaning of the house won’t get rid us of them completely;
- Allergy to insect stings (usually bees or wasps) is hypersensitivity to the venom of stinging insects.
- Allergy to cold is not an allergy in its essence: the response to the sudden drop in temperature, which is manifested in the form of a rash and redness, similar to hives, remaining even few hours after exposure to cold.
Helminth intoxication also often leads to pseudoallergic reactions. In case of allergy symptoms, check the child for the presence of worms.
The appearance of allergy depends on its type. Most often, food allergies are manifested first on the skin, and allergies to pollen or dust – as respiratory problems.
We should note that the signs of allergy at an early age may be subtly. You should carefully monitor the condition of the baby every time you introduce new products to his diet or environment and to point out the slightest changes in the state or behavior.
The first technique of identifying an allergy is watching. You should worry if you noticed a rash or blisters on the skin if the child began itching and having a bad sleep. These symptoms are called acute urticaria, in the absence of treatment or, in severe cases, it can go directly into the forms of atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema.
It should be noted that acute urticaria sometimes develops into its atypical shape – angioedema – when the rush affects the face, resulting in the swelling of the mucous membranes, the cheeks, the lips, which can lead to suffocation.
The respiratory system also responds to the allergen in the body quickly. The so-called allergic rhinitis is an unusual runny nose: mucus is usually colorless, nasal congestion occurs, a child has wet eyes, sneezes continuously and rubs his nose.
Therefore, if your child has a runny nose more than 10 days and has no other signs of a usual cold (fever and sore throat) or treatment for the acute respiratory disease does not lead to tangible improvements, it is a clear sign of allergic reactions.
More serious respiratory reactions include allergic asthma and allergic bronchitis. Their symptoms are similar to non-allergic ones and can become chronic.
Anaphylaxis is the most dangerous allergic reaction, developing very fast. First of all, the child is experiencing shortness of breath, the skin of the face and lips are becoming pale, a child loses consciousness. In this case, he needs immediate medical assistance.
The unusual feature is the temperature, it can rarely accompany a food allergy and drugs allergy, especially at an early age.
The first reaction, and sometimes the only treatment for allergies, is always removing of allergens from the environment, so if your child is allergic to the dog or cat, the animal will have to leave the house.
First of all, you must find out the causes of allergic reactions. For example, you notice the allergic signs on the child’s neck in the form of a rash, you need to remember what could cause it: a new sweater or a basket of strawberries.
At the hospital, doctors have to conduct tests in order to identify the specific allergen. Various medications for allergies are available in pharmacies, but they should be administered only after a physician’s permission, as each of them has a number of side effects and is not equally effective for different types of allergies.
There is also a non-drug treatment for allergies – desensitization: it’s a gradual introduction of small doses of the allergen over a long period, up to 5 years period.
Another problem arises when you want to pick up vitamins for children with allergies: allergic children are often hypersensitive to vitamin complexes. Experts advise choosing the vitamins that are made from natural ingredients rather than synthesized artificially. If necessary, your doctor may prescribe special monovitamine courses without additives.
For the prevention of food allergies, you’d better learn a simple rule: everything should be in moderation and in proper time. Milk and eggs in the diet of the baby should be introduced only after a year and nuts – not earlier than three years, red berries and products – in small doses and with extreme caution.
In order to minimize the risk of allergies to dust, the flat, especially the baby’s room, should be cleaned carefully: wet cleaning twice a week and vacuum cleaner once a week. Also, it is better not to overload the room with furniture and carpeting.
Pillows, blankets, and mattress should be made of hypoallergenic materials. The baby’s room should not contain mountains of soft toys: they are ideal for collecting dust. Humidity prevents the formation of dust, you may maintain the optimum humidity level with the help of a humidifier.
Certain types of allergies, such as allergies to pollen, are hard to fight with. The child’s body must always be maximally healthy, if possible: hardening treatments are recommended for this purpose.
No one is immune from the appearance of allergy in today’s world, so home medicine chest should always contain drugs against allergies, and parents should be vigilant, especially during the first two years of life, because everything is even more dangerous at this age: chronic and severe conditions develop much faster. And parents should monitor their diet and live a healthy lifestyle, if possible, as it is the best prevention of all problems with immunity.