Allergies - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options



Signs and Symptoms of Allergic Reactions in Children

When it comes to chronic health problems in children, allergies top the list. The most common allergy symptom a child is likely to have is called allergic rhinitis, which causes a runny, stuffy, itchy nose. Hives are another telltale sign of an allergy.

Severe allergy symptoms aren't as common, but when they do occur, they can happen suddenly and unpredictably and require emergency medical care.

“The two most dangerous allergic reactions in children are anaphylaxis, which comes on suddenly, and asthma, which develops more slowly," says Robert A. Wood, MD, a professor of pediatrics and chief of pediatric allergy and immunology at Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore, Md. "Children at risk usually have some family history of allergies.” Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that can occur within seconds of exposure to something a person is allergic to. Asthma is a condition where the airways narrow and swell, making breathing difficult and possibly leading to a life-threatening asthma attack.

Here's what you need to know to help protect your child if he or she develops a severe allergic reaction.

Food Allergy Symptoms and Anaphylaxis

So many potential food allergies exist that looking at a list is like reading a restaurant menu. The most common food allergies in children are:

  • Milk and milk products
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Eggs
  • Shellfish
  • Fruits and vegetables

“Most severe allergic reactions in children are caused by foods," Dr. Wood says. "About 6 percent of kids under age 4 have food allergies. This drops to 3 percent or 4 percent in older children because they outgrow the food allergy."

The most common symptom of food allergy in children is hives, he says, but the most dangerous is anaphylaxis, which leads to 30,000 emergency department visits and 150 deaths each year.

“There are four areas of the body that can be affected by allergy — the skin, respiratory system, digestive system, and cardiovascular system," Wood explains. "Anaphylaxis is dangerous because it causes symptoms in the lower respiratory system and affects the heart and blood pressure.”

A review of anaphylaxis in children, published inCurrent Allergy and Asthma Reports,found that food allergies are the trigger for anaphylaxis in children up to 85 percent of the time. Less common triggers include medications and bee stings.

These sudden symptoms of anaphylaxis require immediate emergency medical care:

  • Difficult or noisy breathing
  • Swelling of the tongue
  • Trouble talking or swallowing
  • Vomiting, cramps, or diarrhea
  • Swelling and itching of the skin
  • Becoming pale, floppy, or disoriented or collapsing

Environmental Allergy Symptoms and Asthma

“The most common environmental allergies that trigger asthma attacks in children are dust, mold, and pets,” Wood says. About 8 percent to 10 percent of children have asthma, and colds and allergies are the two most common triggers of asthma in children. Symptoms of allergic asthma include wheezing, chest tightness, a cough, and shortness of breath. Any of these symptoms should prompt a call to your child's doctor. Severe symptoms need emergency medical care.

Allergy Testing

If you and your child's doctor suspect food or environmental allergies, you have options for allergy testing to make a diagnosis:

  • Skin testing is effective for environmental allergies, insect allergies, drug allergies, and food allergies.
  • Blood testing is effective for the same allergies as skin testing, but may be less sensitive for foods. However, a blood test may be easier for young children to tolerate than skin tests are.
  • An elimination diet may be used for food allergy testing. This involves eliminating certain foods from a child’s diet to monitor for an allergic reaction or not.

Preventing Allergic Reactions

Educating parents and children about allergies is the best way to prevent allergic reactions and to recognize and treat them quickly. Every child with an allergy needs to have an allergy action plan. Siblings and friends who don't have allergies should also be taught about allergies so they can recognize the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction in your child and get help if needed.

Talk with your doctor about an allergy action plan for your child. To learn more about an asthma action plan, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site at . To learn more about food allergies, check out Food Allergy Research & Education at .






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Date: 06.12.2018, 13:52 / Views: 64154