Children’s Allergies are amongst the most common diseases that affect children. It may manifest as eczema to allergies of the nose, eyes or even asthma. If your child has frequent colds, coughs and infections, consider the possibility of allergies.
If left untreated, allergic rhinitis (runny nose) can lead to increased risk of asthma. Studies have shown that children with allergies perform more poorly in their studies and school work.
Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include
- Frequent sneezing, runny & blocked nose
- Itchy nose & eyes
- Twitching the nose, rubbing the nose
- Picking the nose often, nose bleeds
- Snoring, poor sleep, noisy breathing, tiredness, lack of concentration
- Asthma, cough
The development of allergies is influenced by genes and the environment. If the parents have allergies, the child will have a higher risk of developing allergic symptoms. Food and exposure to dust mites, pets’ dander (the dry skin and saliva that remains on the pet after it licks itself) and pollens can also trigger allergy.
It is important to try and identify the source of the allergy. A skin or blood test can help us identify the source of the allergy. Once it’s identified, management of the allergy includes:
If one is allergic to food, for example seafood, then abstinence from that food will prevent symptoms from occurring. If the allergens are dust mites, pet danders or pollens, then environmental avoidance will help decrease symptoms.
If avoidance cannot eliminate the symptoms or is impractical, then medications can help minimise symptoms. Common medications include antihistamines, nasal sprays, asthma medications, steroid creams and oral steroids.
Medications, however, control the symptoms but do not cure the allergy.
Immunotherapy, a targeted treatment for boosting the immunity against specific allergens, can reduce or eliminate the allergic symptoms. This works like a vaccine and over a period of time, the individual develops a protection against the allergens. This is effective against environmental allergens such as dust mites, pet danders and pollens. It is effective in allergies of the nose, eyes, allergic asthma and some eczema.
Preventing Food Allergies in Your Child
Food allergies can be mild, like eczema, to life threatening allergic reactions. To decrease the chances of developing a food allergy, it is recommended that babies are breast fed for four to six months. If this is not possible, then use a hypoallergenic milk formula.
For weaning, use single-ingredient infant foods and introduce one at a time. This allows the caregiver or parent to identify problem food.
Certain foods that are known to cause allergies such as cow’s milk, soy, egg, fish, shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts are best avoided till the child is one year old.
Maternal diet during pregnancy and lactation is not effective in minimising the child’s development of allergies.
Preventing Environmental Allergies and Asthma
Dust mites & Pets
Reducing exposure in early life may delay or prevent the development of allergies and asthma symptoms. Keeping the environment clean, using high efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) type air filters, removing carpets and stuffed toys from your kid’s room can help lower exposure and symptoms.
Pets should not be allowed in the child’s room.
Reduce exposure to tobacco smoke.
If your child is frequently sick, do consider that an allergy may be one of the underlying causes. Consult a doctor that has an interest in allergies, such as an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist or paediatrician, to further assess your child.
Book an appointment with HealthSense Specialist Dr. YT Pang to look at your ENT problems and get cured.