1-in-3 children have allergies, and many parents don’t realize it. An allergy occurs when the immune system mistakes a harmless substance for a dangerous one. Allergens trigger an allergic reaction that manifests in itching, watery eyes, stuffy nose and other allergy symptoms. These symptoms are also similar to the common cold, but if you notice symptoms persisting longer than two weeks, repeatedly throughout the year or at the same time every year, contact us for an allergy test.
Inhalant allergens are hard to avoid and include pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and mold spores.
Signs of allergies: nasal congestion, runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, allergic “shiners and itching of the nose. Children often develop an “allergic crease” due to the habit of pushing the nose up with the palm. The crease appears across the nose.
Treatment: Medication can manage the symptoms of allergies, to address the cause, allergy shots may be recommended.
The top eight food allergens are milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and crustacean shellfish. Food allergies can appear at any age. Childhood milk, egg, wheat, and soy allergies can be outgrown.
Signs of allergies: An allergic reaction involves symptoms affecting the immune systems such as skin rashes (hives and eczema), wheezing, nasal stuffiness, vomiting and diarrhea, and anaphylaxis. Many confuse food intolerance with a food allergy due to similar symptoms. However, food intolerance symptoms are usually limited to digestive symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, gas and abdominal pain.
Treatment: Avoidance is the best defense against food allergies; there is no cure.
Stinging Insect Allergies
Honeybee, hornet, wasp, yellow jacket and fire ant stings are the most often to trigger an allergic reaction.
Signs of allergies: Swelling, itching, and redness near the sting is a normal reaction. Swelling well beyond the sting site is a large reaction. A systemic allergic reaction is serious and can cause generalized itching, hives, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, wheezing or difficulty breathing. Anaphylaxis impairs breathing, causes a sudden drop in blood pressure and can send the body into shock – occurring within minutes of a sting.
Treatment: The first step of treatment is the emergency treatment of the sting, a dose of epinephrine may be administered, and immediate medical attention is required. Avoidance is the best defense, but preventable treatment is available to treat the underlying allergy with venom immunotherapy.
Testing and Treatment of Childhood Allergies
Family Allergy and Asthma offers comprehensive testing and treatment for patients of all ages from infants through adulthood. Many of our board-certified allergists are also pediatric-trained and are experts at working with children who suffer from allergies. Per the American Academy of Pediatrics, age is not a barrier to skin testing, meaning, even infants can benefit. Skin testing will identify the allergens to which your child is allergic.
Once your child’s allergies are identified, our providers will work with you to develop the best treatment plan for your child; this may include medication and allergy shots. The age in which shots may be recommended to young children is done on a case-by-case basis. Research has also shown that allergy shots can prevent children who have allergic rhinitis from developing asthma. Childhood allergies have been linked to missed school days and poor quality of children’s play, if your child is struggling with allergies, schedule an appointment today.