Allergies In Children: Introduction

Allergies In Children: Recognize Early To Manage & Treat Your Child Effectively

Allergies in children: What is it, what happens, common allergies, why do people get them, body system effects, prevention & treatment

What is an Allergy?

Allergies in children: Is a condition where the body reacts adversely to apparently innocuous substances. The systems commonly involved and respiratory, gastrointestinal and skin apart from others.

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What Happens?

When the body produces a number of chemicals including histamine in an attempt to protect itself. There is a strong chemical overreaction leading to symptoms of allergy.

Common Allergies


  • Allergic Rhinitis
  • Hay fever
  • Asthma


  • Eczema
  • Urticaria

Why do people get allergies?


  • Tends to run in the family
  • One parent – 30 to 50% risk
  • Both parents – 60 to 70% risk
  • The child could get a different allergy

Exposure to triggers

  • Airway
    • Smoking
      High allergen environment
      Recurrent infections
      Certain medicines
  • Food
    • Bovine milk in early infancy
    • Certain foods like eggs, peanuts, wheat, citrus fruits and fish

Air pollution and allergy

  • Unnatural air pollutants – NO2 (vehicle exhaust, ozone, acid air, cigarette smoke)
  • Aggravate allergies

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Clinical conditions caused by allergies

Hay fever

  • Allergy to pollen and spores
  • Clinical:
    • Sneezing, runny nose, blocked nose, itchy throat or mouth, headaches, loss of concentration, and unwell
    • Different symptoms or may have a few symptoms


  • Incidence 10 to 20%
  • Hives/wheals – itchy, raised, red edges, pale centers different size patches
  • Swelling – around eyes, lips, tongue and limbs
  • Allergy to food, drugs, infections

Chronic recurrent allergic rhinitis

  • Incidence – 30% of all recurrent colds
  • Initial printing – later small allergens cause symptoms
  • Symptoms – runny nose, itchy nose, blocked nose, and sneezing
  • May be associated with sinusitis or asthma
  • Differentiate vasomotor rhinitis


  • Skin reaction to contact and ingested allergens
  • Clothes, jewelry, shoes, creams, cosmetics, and plants
  • Food – eggs, milk, fish
  • Itchy scaling, dry, weepy, and infection

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Avoiding the triggers

1. Cigarette Smoke

Smoking is bad for everyone, but particularly for people with asthma. Inhaling cigarette smoke can irritate the lungs and cause airways to narrow. If you have asthma and smoke, you are increasing the risk of an asthma attack and may be permanently damaging your airways.

  • Give up smoking! Within a few weeks, you should start to notice huge benefits to your health – you should feel fitter and your risk of smoking – induced illness will rapidly decline. Your airways will start to recover in 3-6 months
  • If you are planning to have a child, it is very important that neither parent smokes. Studies have shown that children of mothers who smokes are more likely to develop asthma. Inhaling other people’s smoke is hazardous for people with asthma too. A national asthma campaign survey showed that cigarette smoke caused an increase in asthma symptoms in 80% of respondents. Avoid smoky places. If you are going to be in a smokey room remember to take your inhaler with you. Go outside for some fresh air if you start to wheeze
  • Don’t be afraid to tell people how you feel. Ask them to stop smoking if you start to feel wheezy
  • If you are concerned about smoke in the workplace, speak to your health and safety rep or your manager

2. Pets

Pets can be great fun and a wonderful source of companionship. Unfortunately animals are also a common allergic trigger of asthma symptoms. The allergens are found in the pets fur, saliva, minute flakes of skin and urine.

  • If someone in your family has asthma, or if there is a family history of asthma, don’t buy furry or feather pets
  • Up to 50% of children with asthma have their symptoms triggered by an allergy to cats or dogs
  • The urine from guinea pigs, rabbits and gerbils can cause problems too
  • Even fish can cause problems. Some people have an allergic reaction to the ants eggs on which tropical fish feed
  • Bathing cats and dogs once a week can help. Ask your vet for advice on how to do this properly
  • Always keep pets out of areas like the lounge and bedroom

3. Food

Most people with asthma do not have to follow a special diet. In some cases certain foods can make symptoms worse. Dairy products including cow’s milk and egg shellfish, fish, yeast products and nuts are some of the offenders. Some people can have a severe or anaphylactic reaction to foods.

  • If you think you have a food allergy, consult your doctor
  • Your doctor may ask you to keep a diary of your diet and your symptoms to see if there is a consistent relationship between the two
  • Your doctor may recommend you to a specialist clinic for further tests

4. Weather

Sudden changes in temperature, cold air, windy days, poor air quality on dry, still das can all affect asthma. Thunderstorms can also activate allergens.

  • Take a puff of reliever just before going out
  • Wear a scarf over your face when it’s cold and windy. It will help warm the air up before breathing it in
  • Try to avoid going out in the middle of the day on hot smoggy days


  • Prevention (childhood)
    • Time of birth
    • No smoking
    • Breast milk as long as possible
    • Special diet in infancy – no wheat, no egg, no fresh milk, no citrus fruits
  • Prevention (indoors)
    • No smoking
    • Windows closed in spring
    • Vacuum and dust with damp cloth
    • No furry pets
    • Dry walls
    • Minimal furniture – no curtains, carpets, dust gathering objects
    • Avoid cutting grass
  • Prevention (Personal)
    • Smear vaseline or frequent nasal wash
    • Wear mask on occasion
    • Food – preservatives, colouring, and known allergens
    • Stay clear of cigarettes
    • Wear glasses
    • Vitamin C
    • Herbs


  1. Antihistamines
  2. Saline washes
  3. Immunotherapy
  4. Creams

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Allergies In Children: Introduction was last modified: April 5th, 2017 by Dr. Rajeshree Singhania

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