Food Allergies In Children
According to the Food Allergy Research & Education, one in 13 children in the US has a food allergy . When the childs body reacts specifically to certain foods, it is called food allergy. It happens when the immune system confuses food compounds to be pathogens and mounts an immune response. Food allergies could range from mild to severe .
Causes of food allergies
Each child can be allergic to different food, but some foods cause allergies more commonly than others .
- Milk, eggs, soy, wheat, and tree nuts may cause mild allergy symptoms.
- Peanuts, shellfish, and fish may cause severe symptoms in some children.
- Cow milk allergy.
- Glutein allergy.
Symptoms of food allergies
The symptoms of a food allergy may start within a few minutes or hours after eating the food. Mild symptoms could affect the nose, mouth, gut, or skin. Severe symptoms could affect the throat, lung, mouth, gut, skin, heart, or other organs .
- Nausea, vomiting, cramps, and discomfort
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Eczema or hives
Natural relief from food allergies
How To Protect Your Baby Against Allergies
Allergies can be really distressing for any child but particularly for babies. This is because they don’t understand what is happening to them and therefore become distressed. This can be upsetting to watch as a parent. Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect your baby against allergies and ease their symptoms.
Reviewed byDr Krishna Vakharia
25-Jun-22·4 mins read
Allergies are said to be the most common type of chronic disease in Europe. Studies show that the number of people living with allergies in the UK is rising by 5% every year.
How To Tell Seasonal Nasal Allergies From The Common Cold
- Symptoms happen during pollen season
- Had the same symptoms during the same month last year
- Hay fever symptoms last 6-8 weeks for each pollen. .
- Allergies: itchy eyes and nose. Not seen with colds.
- Colds: fever and/or sore throat. Not seen with allergies
- Both: runny nose and watery eyes. Can also have a cough with both, but less common with allergies.
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How Do Allergies Happen
An allergy happens when the immune system& overreacts to an allergen, treating it as an invader and trying to fight it off. This causes symptoms that can range from annoying to serious or even life-threatening.
In an attempt to protect the body, the immune system makes antibodies called immunoglobulin E . These antibodies then cause certain cells to release chemicals into the bloodstream to defend against the allergen “invader.”
It’s the release of these chemicals that causes allergic reactions. Reactions can affect the eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin, and gastrointestinal tract. Future exposure to that same allergen will trigger this allergic response again.
Some allergies are seasonal and happen only at certain times of the year others can happen anytime someone comes in contact with an allergen. So, when a person with a food allergy eats that particular food or someone who’s allergic to dust mites is exposed to them, they will have an allergic reaction.
Can You Reduce Your Baby’s Chances Of Developing Allergies
Allergies – such as hay fever – and respiratory conditions – such as asthma – often run in families. Therefore, if one or more of a baby’s parents has a pollen allergy or another allergic disease, their baby is more likely to develop these conditions too.
Fortunately, there are measures you can implement to slow the development of these conditions or even reduce their chances of them developing.
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Nose And Eye Allergies: Age Of Onset
- Seasonal pollen allergies usually begin at age 2 to 5 years.
- The symptoms peak in school age children, teens and young adults.
- Pollen symptoms are rare in children under age 2. They require at least 2 seasons of exposure to the pollen.
- Children under age 2 who have chronic nasal symptoms have other causes. Examples are recurrent colds, large adenoids or cow’s milk allergy.
- Food allergies can start during the first year of life, but not pollen allergies.
Can A Child Have A Fever With Allergies
Allergies dont directly cause fever. If your little one has a fever, its a sign of an infection like a cold, ear infection or sinus infection.
Keep in mind, many people confuse seasonal allergies with a sinus infection . While they may be linked, theyre actually two different conditions:
- Seasonal allergies are an inflammation of the nasal passages that’s caused by allergens like pollen and grass.
- A sinus infection often starts as a cold and turns into a bacterial infection, although allergies can also cause sinusitis. Aside from fever, other sinusitis symptoms may include thick, discolored nasal discharge pain and tenderness around the nose, cheeks, eyes or forehead nasal congestion and inflammation and achiness in the jaw.
What Causes Seasonal Allergies In Babies And Toddlers
Seasonal allergy symptoms usually occur during spring, summer and fall. Depending on where you live, the seasons and specific plants causing allergies vary. Unfortunately, no region of the United States is completely untouched by allergy triggers.
When your little one inhales one of the following seasonal allergens, her immune system churns out antibodies that jumpstart the release of a protein called histamine, which causes allergy symptoms:
- Spring allergies : Tree pollen. The most common culptrits cedar, birch, oak, maple and pine are found in most parts of the U.S. The farther south you live, the earlier the season usually starts.
- Late spring to summer allergies : Grass pollen. Grasses, including Bermuda, orchard, brome, rye and Timothy, are more likely to produce symptoms in late spring and early summer in the northern states, but are always problematic in the South, since grasses there pollinate year-round.
- Late summer to fall allergies : Weed pollen . Ragweed grows in nearly every climate and is the biggest source of hay fever symptoms.
What Are Allergy Shots
When staying away from allergens and taking daily medicine doesn’t work, allergy shots may be a treatment option. A mixture is made of the different pollens, mold spores, animal danders, and dust mites to which the child is allergic. This mixture is called an allergy extract. There is no medicine in the mixture. The mixture is injected under the skin, often in the fatty tissue in the back of the arm. It is not painful like an injection into the muscle. Over many months, the allergen dose is slowly increased. The child’s immune system builds up an immunity to the allergen. Injection schedules vary. But they start weekly while the doses are increased. Then they are given every other week and finally once a month.
About 80% to 90% of children improve with allergy shots. It often takes 12 to 18 months before definite reduction in allergy symptoms is noticed. In some children, a reduction in symptoms is seen in as soon as 6 to 8 months. After 5 years, most children can stop the treatment and still feel the benefits.
A tablet that dissolves under the tongue might be another way for your child to receive immunotherapy. But this treatment is only available for certain allergens.
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Can I Give My Child Allergy Medicines
Over-the-counter treatments such as saline sprays, nasal steroid sprays and antihistamines can work for children, but Dr. Hong recommends that parents talk to their pediatrician about the different medications and proper dosing. Its also important to be on the lookout for how allergy medications make children feel.
Monitor whether medications make them sleepy, Dr. Hong suggests. Some liquids or pills can cause sleepiness, so you want to make sure that you either dose them at night or choose one thats a little bit better for your child during the day so theyre not drowsy.
If your child is having allergy symptoms all of the time, Dr. Hong advises being proactive and seeking medical treatment so they can focus on school instead of their runny nose and sneezing all day long.
What Foods Most Often Cause Food Allergy
Approximately 90 percent of all food allergies are caused by the followingeight foods:
Eggs, milk, and peanuts are the most common causes of food allergies inchildren, with wheat, soy, and tree nuts also included. Peanuts, tree nuts,fish, and shellfish commonly cause the most severe reactions. Nearly 5percent of children under the age of five years have food allergies. From1997 to 2007, the prevalence of reported food allergy increased 18 percentamong children under age 18 years. Although most children “outgrow” theirallergies, allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish may belifelong.
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Skin Allergies In Children
Skin is the largest organ of the body and it can be affected by allergens .
Causes of skin allergies
Various substances and compounds could trigger an allergic reaction of the skin.
Natural relief from skin allergies
Natural remedies may help treat some skin allergies or provide relief from the symptoms :
How To Protect Your Baby Against Mould
- Prevent dampness in your home and use a dehumidifier if needed.
- Ensure adequate ventilation.
- Dry your washing in an airing cupboard or tumble drier that is not near your baby.
If you are concerned about your baby’s allergy symptoms, or if you suspect that their symptoms have worsened you should consult with your baby’s GP or allergy specialist.
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When Do Seasonal Allergies Develop In Babies
Its uncommon for babies to have seasonal allergies in the first year. That said, its possible for allergy symptoms to begin at any age.
Kids tend to develop seasonal allergies between the ages of 3 and 5, with most young allergy sufferers noticing symptoms by the time theyre 10. Some kids develop allergies as young as 1 or 2 years old, although usually theyre reacting to indoor allergens like dust, mold or pet dander.
What Are The Symptoms Of Food Allergy
Allergic symptoms may begin within minutes to an hour after ingesting thefood. The following are the most common symptoms of food allergy. However,each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Lowered blood pressure
According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, itdoes not take much of the food to cause a severe reaction in highlyallergic people. In fact, as little as 1/44,000 of a peanut kernel cancause an allergic reaction for severely allergic individuals.
The symptoms of food allergy may resemble other problems or medicalconditions. Always consult your child’s doctor for a diagnosis.
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How Do You Treat Seasonal Allergies
After youve taken steps to limit your childs exposure to allergy triggers, choose a treatment that addresses specific symptoms. For example, by alleviating itchy, blurry eyes, you can improve your childs sleep and mood.There are a number of prescription and over-the-counter medications that can help relieve seasonal allergy symptoms. Be sure to talk to your family pediatrician about the best option for your child.Read labels carefully for the active ingredient. Do not give your child more than one oral antihistamine at a time unless under the direction of a healthcare provider. However, most antihistamine eye drops and nose sprays can be given together along with an oral antihistamine.
How To Prevent Allergies In Toddlers
Allergies are caused by an immune system response and cannot be completely prevented. The best way to address allergies in toddlers is to avoid your childs triggers as much as possible. Children with food allergies should avoid the food group they are allergic to.
If your child has a pollen allergy, try to decrease the time you both spend outdoors during the pollen season. Keep your windows shut to keep pollen from entering your home. Wipe down any pets that are spending time outdoors as well since their fur can trap pollen.
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Diagnosing Seasonal Allergies In Kids
How do you know if your child has seasonal allergies? Its best to visit your childs pediatrician rather than self-diagnosing and risking treating your child with the wrong medication. When diagnosing allergies, your childs healthcare provider will take several factors into consideration:
Infants, toddlers, and younger children have a hard time tolerating a nasal spray so it is better to use oral antihistamines, like Allegra, Zyrtec, Claritin , Dr. Dass says.
When children are old enough, an intranasal steroid is standard of care to help treat and prevent seasonal allergies, explains Dr. Dass.
Just be sure that you are using the version formulated for children, and the appropriate dosage for your childs age. While certain allergy medicines can mix safely with asthma medications, such as Singulair, its dangerous to double up on antihistamines if the first one you try doesnt relieve symptoms. You should always consult with a pediatrician before using OTC medications for your child.
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For severe allergies, allergy shots are helpful and can help you outgrow the allergies, explains Dr. Dass. We usually do not start allergy shots until the child is at least 5 or 6 years old to help prevent allergies. Further, by controlling allergies, you could potentially help your childs eczema and help prevent asthma from developing.
The following dosage chart is based on the manufacturers instructions:
Why You Should Avoid Decongestant Sprays
Giving your child a decongestant nasal spray to relieve stuffiness is acceptable for short-term relief as long as you don’t use it for more than a day or two. “If you use them longer than that, they can cause a rebound effect, in which the congestion becomes even worse,” says Dr. Smith. Because seasonal allergies tend to last weeks or months, not days, Dr. Smith is cautious about recommending them at all.
Oral decongestants don’t pose a rebound problem, but they also don’t address sneezing and itching and can make some children hyperactive. Plus, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against using decongestants for young children.
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Try A Cooling Compress
Itchy, watery eyes can make for a miserable kid, but a simple ice pack or cold compress can offer your child great relief. “Applying cold can be soothing for areas of the body that are itchy, particularly the eyes,” Stukus says. If you use allergy eye drops or skin creams, ask your pharmacist if it’s safe to store them in the refrigerator for more of a cooling effect. Can a warm compress help your child as well? “Warm compresses may help children with severe sinus congestion, but generally wont offer much relief from typical allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itching, runny nose, or stuffy nose,” Stukus says.
If Your Child Is Under Age 1 It’s Likely A Cold
It is unusual for a child under 1 year old to be diagnosed with seasonal allergies. “With allergies, you typically must be exposed to things a number of times to get an allergic response,” explains Dr. Lee. “It’s not that a baby can’t have an allergic reaction to something during the first year of life, but typical seasonal allergies usually involve older kids.”
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Strategies To Reduce Pet Allergies
If your childs allergies arent too severe, you may be able to take some steps to reduce your childs symptoms and keep your pet. For instance:
Keep pets out of the bedroom. Make your childs room a pet-free zone and be sure to keep it clean. To keep the room pet dander- and pollen-free, install a high-efficiency air filter and air purifier. Remember to change the filters frequently.
Cover your childs bed with extra protection. You can buy dust mite covers for your childs pillow, blanket, and mattress. This will also help keep out dust mites, another potential allergy trigger, in addition to allergens like pet dander.
Go for hard surfaces. Where you can, replace upholstered surfaces with non-fabric or easily washable materials. Pet dander sticks to upholstery, drapes, curtains, and carpeting more easily than it does to surfaces such as wood, vinyl, or tile. Plus, the latter are easier to clean. For this reason, you also shouldnt let your allergic child sleep with stuffed animals, Dr. Nassef adds. If you must have carpet in your child’s bedroom or elsewhere in your home, select a low-pile one and have it steam-cleaned regularly.
Teach your child to wash his hands with soap and water after touching the pet. Washing helps prevent the spread of allergens to your childs nose, eyes, and mouth which is especially important if your child gets a rash from having been licked by your pet, Nassef says.