Dealing With Kiddie Allergies

By: Charlene J. Nuble
Allergies are abnormal reactions of the immune system to certain substances. The body's immune system mistakenly believes these substances to be harmful, and produces immunoglobulin E or IgE antibodies to protect the body.

Allergies basically come in two forms. The first is organ related, which can be as mild as a skin rash, a runny nose, or frequent sneezing and coughing. Yet it can also be escalated as loose bowel movement, vomiting, or an asthma attack.

The second type is the more fatal generalized reaction, where several of the body's organs fail to function. Often caused by food allergies, a generalized reaction, such as anaphylaxis, is characterized by swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, or other parts of the body, difficulty in breathing and swallowing, and loss of consciousness. That's why even if allergies are common, it's best for parents to be vigilant and seek medical help as soon as they suspect an allergic reaction.

The Usual Suspects

Allergic reactions are usually triggered by environmental factors and genetic predisposition. A person doesn't inherit a particular allergy, however, just the likelihood of developing allergies. If both parents have allergies, their child has a 50 to 70 per cent change of developing an allergy.

Even with no family history of allergies, a child still has up to 15 per cent chance of developing one. Substances that cause allergic reactions are called allergens. They can be inhalants (minute particles in the air), ingestants (food, medicine), or contactants (chemicals that skin comes into contact with).

Here are the most common allergens

- Dust and dust mites. Dust mites are tiny bugs that live in house dust, feather dusters, and rage. They breed in damp environments, such as air-conditioned and carpeted rooms. Their droppings may cause mild allergic reactions.

- Molds. These are microscopic fungi that are found in humid areas. They send out small spores that can invade the respiratory tract, causing allergic rhinitis. Thousands of mold variants exist, but only a few are significant allergens.

- Pollen. Pollen, borne through the air, are released from plants to fertilize other plants. But some pollen accidentally land inside human noses and mouths.

- Milk. Most infants who are allergic to cow's milk also react unfavorably to goat's milk and soymilk. Milk allergy, which is different from lactose intolerance, usually disappears between ages 2 and 4. Some children never outgrow it, though. -

 Crustaceans. Crustaceans such as shrimp or crab and scaly fish such as mackerel, sardines and tuna are the most common seafood allergens. In treating allergic reactions, doctors can prescribe antihistamines and oral or topical steroids to relieve certain discomforts like itchiness. In severe cases, immunotherapy or desensitization is recommended. This entails administering weekly injections of the allergen for five to six months. Breastfeeding is the first step in preventing allergic reactions. During the first six months, breast milk is rich in antibodies that can strengthen a child's immune system. Thus, in order to prevent allergy outbreaks, or to, at least, diffuse its onsetFind Article, feed your babies breastmilk.

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