More than one in four people are affected by allergies in the UK. Early diagnosis in childhood can dramatically improve quality of life.
An upset stomach, difficulty breathing, skin rashes, sneezing, coughing and itchy eyes. All of these may be symptoms of allergy in children. Allergies occur when the body’s immune system reacts to a substance it thinks is harmful to the body. Although there isn’t yet a clear explanation for why this happens, it is generally accepted that people with a family history of allergies or related conditions such as eczema are more likely to suffer.
The key to managing allergies lies in identifying triggers. For the most part, an allergy test conducted by a healthcare professional will be the best way to determine the cause of these reactions, but common triggers can include pollen, insect bites, pet fur, dust mites, mould, cigarette smoke and food products such as eggs, peanuts, gluten and dairy. If you suspect your child may have an allergy, keep track of flare up episodes, possible triggers and make an appointment to see an allergist for expert advice.
The most effective way to manage allergies is to detect the trigger and avoid it as best as is possible. However, some triggers—like pollen—may be harder to steer clear from. There are several medicines on the market that may go some way in alleviating the symptoms of allergies; these include antihistamines, which can also be taken as preventatives; decongestants, to fight blocked noses; emollients to minimise skin redness and itchiness; and steroid medication to reduce swelling. Consult your doctor before giving your child any type of medication.
Allergies in school
Your child’s school should be informed of any allergies—especially asthma and severe allergy to peanuts. Discuss your little one’s access to medication in case of an emergency.
Although they can manifest in a number of ways, common ailments caused by allergic reactions include hayfever, asthma, nasal congestion and ear infections.
This article was first published in Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh magazine. Read the digital edition, here.