Allergic reaction in children and babies - what are the reasons and how to protect the child?
In the recent past allergic diseases were relatively rare. However, in recent years there has been a significant increase in people with symptoms of an allergic reaction. And especially they are children.
The present article will treat the subject of allergies in infants and children, but will first review the essential aspects of allergies.
What is an allergic reaction?
In case of allergy, the immune system detects the allergen as harmful and produces antibodies to neutralize it.
Thus, the allergic reaction is a manifestation during the interaction between an allergen and antibodies produced by the immune system.
The reaction of the immune system during contact with the allergen can cause inflammation of the respiratory tract, sinuses, skin, digestive system, etc., so "allergic" reactions.
Types of allergens
There are 3 types of allergens:
In this category we find pollens, pet hair, molds, mites, cockroach secretions and other cockroaches;
Foods at risk include milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat, honey, soy, fish, meat, spices, fruits and vegetables, chocolate, food coloring, etc .;
In this category cause an allergic reaction:
- contact allergens - nickel, chromium, latex, resins, clothing dyes, beauty care products, etc .;
- medicated allergens - medications, ointments, creams, etc .;
- the venom of insects - bees, wasps, hornets, ants, spiders, etc.
It can include sneezing, stuffy nose, itchy eyes, nose or palate, red or swollen eyes.
Symptoms of food allergies
Food allergies can cause rashes, tingling in the mouth, swelling of the tongue, lips and face or throat, anaphylaxis, etc.
Symptoms of drug allergies
Drug allergy causes itching, swelling of the face, fever, rash, wheezing, anaphylaxis;
Symptoms of the allergic reaction caused by poisonous animals
During an allergy to insect venom, symptoms such as swelling at the site of the bite, itching, shortness of breath, etc., are observable.
Allergies at children
The frequency of allergies in babies and children varies by country. In Western Europe statistical data show that 10 to 15% of preschool children suffer from atopic dermatitis and between 25 and 30% develop a pollen allergy. In case of careless care, 40% of patients develop asthma.
The theory of hygiene and the allergic reaction
The reason for this sudden increase in allergies remains unclear. It is a fact that their frequency is more significant in the developed countries than in the poorer regions. Hence, one of the main theories assumes that this correlation is related to improved hygiene conditions in countries with strong economies. It is called "the theory of hygiene". According to scientists who support this hypothesis, limiting children's contact with potential allergens at a very young age makes them more vulnerable.
Early diagnosis is important
Intolerances and allergies may not be recognized as such for a long time. This can lead to a deterioration of the quality of life. It is therefore very important to recognize the symptoms in time in order to consult an appropriate specialist. The follow-up of a suitable treatment generally gives a good result in the control of the allergic state.
Which children are more susceptible to allergies and intolerances?
Genetic predisposition is the most important risk factor. If one of the parents suffers from any allergic disease, the child's risk of development is 20%. If both parents are affected, the risk rises to more than 30%. However, about 15% of children with allergies do not have a family history. The reason is the multifactorial genesis of allergic diseases. The environment, nutrition, lifestyle are important factors to consider.
Which allergies by age group?
Atopic dermatitis is the most common allergic disease in infants. The rash can occur after contact with various allergens, such as powdered laundry, cosmetics, etc., just as it can be caused by foods such as milk, cereals, eggs, etc.
Around the age of two
At about 2 years of age, nearly half of these children have the first symptoms of asthma. Most often it is an increased awareness of allergens in the air. Animal hair, mites, molds and others cause allergic reactions.
At school age, the most common allergy is pollen. This typical evolution of allergic states is called 'atopic walking'. However, this does not mean that any child with atopic dermatitis will develop asthma or pollen allergy.
Although environmental factors play an important role in the development of allergic diseases, genetic predisposition is an essential factor. Therefore, it is advisable to take preventive measures when both parents have allergic manifestations. In this way the risk of developing an allergy in children will be reduced.
What are the measures to take?
In a family predisposition, cigarette smoke increases the risk of developing an allergy in infants and children, while increasing allergic reactions. It is considered that smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of developing an allergy in the child by eight times. For this reason, smoking is not recommended during and after pregnancy.
Breastfeeding has a protective effect. For this reason, it is recommended that infants be breastfed exclusively until their seventeenth week. The nutrition of the mother must be varied and sufficiently complete to avoid certain deficiencies in minerals and vitamins, but also to satisfy the different tastes of the baby.
Introduction of solid foods
The introduction of solid elements should be done around the age of six months and when the baby is ready. If possible, it is advisable to continue breastfeeding during the introduction of solid foods.
The introduction of allergenic foods should be 12 months in a form adapted to the age of the baby. Studies show that this can reduce the risk of developing a food allergy in babies with eczema or egg allergy.
Once introduced, allergenic foods should be given to the baby regularly. This must be done in order to maintain tolerance as part of a varied diet.
However, if the baby gives signs of an allergic reaction, stop giving this food and consult a doctor.
Most food allergies developed in children involve wheat, milk and soy. They may disappear with age, especially if they occurred before the age of three. This is not the case in case of allergy to nuts, fish and seafood, which do not disappear over time.
And a very important point to remember is that wheat allergy and gluten are two different food allergies in children.