Due to the warm weather in February as well as in first week of March, pollen allergies are striking once again. Changes in the timing of spring can affect human health, bringing early-season disease-carriers such as ticks and mosquitoes, and an earlier, longer and more vigorous pollen season, the National Phenology Network warned.
What is an allergy?
Everywhere you search, an allergy is explained as the response of the body’s immune system to normally harmless substances, such as pollens, foods, and house dust mite. A substance that causes an allergic reaction is called an “allergen“.
In most people these substances (allergens) pose no problem, in allergic individuals their immune system identifies them as a’ threat’ and produces an inappropriate response.
A study published in JAMA Pediatrics (September 2013 issue) reported that children’s food allergies cost both families and the US as a whole nearly $25 billion annually.
In some cases, an allergen can cause a severe reaction, called anaphylactic shock. This is a medical emergency, as the symptoms – including difficulty breathing and swelling – can be life threatening.
Fast facts on allergies
Here are some key points about allergies. More detail and supporting information is in the main article. 
- Allergies are the result of an inappropriately large immune response
- Some of the most common allergens are dust, pollen and nuts
- An estimated 1 in 5 Americans have an allergy
- Allergies have a range of symptoms that can include sneezing, peeling skin and vomiting
- Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that can be life-threatening
- There are a number of risk factors for allergies, including a family history
- If you already have an allergy, you are more likely to develop an allergy to something else
- In theory, any food has the potential to be an allergen
- To diagnose an allergy, a clinician may take a blood sample.
Who gets allergies?
The tendency to develop allergies is often hereditary, which means it can be passed down through genes from parents to their kids. But just because you, your partner, or one of your children might have allergies doesn’t mean that all of your kids will definitely get them, too. And someone usually doesn’t inherit a particular allergy, just the likelihood of having allergies.
Some kids have allergies even if no family member is allergic, and those who are allergic to one substance are likely to be allergic to others.
Identify the early signs of allergy symptoms in children
The worst part about allergies is that it can hit people of any age and at any point of time with unnoticed symptoms. This makes it difficult for parents with allergic child to identify the signs and symptoms at early stage. It often passes on to generations as well.
If one of the parents is allergic to any source, chances are high that their children may also suffer from the same allergic problem. About 33% children with one allergic parent will develop an allergy and over 70% children with both parents allergic are likely to have allergy. But a few kids have allergies even if no family member is allergic. And a child who is allergic to one substance is likely to be allergic to others as well, which means parents should know about the little signs their kid might experience for any allergic reaction. Identifying the early symptoms of allergic reaction in children can improve quality of his/her life.
Symptoms to watch out for allergies in children:
Eyes: Itchy, watery, prickly eyes, red eyes, swollen eyes, dark areas under the eyes due to blocked sinuses
Nose, Throat and Ear: Runny, blocked, itchy nose, sneezing, pain in sinuses, headaches, post-nasal drip, loss of sense of smell and taste, sore throat, swollen larynx (voice box), itchy mouth or throat, blocked or glue ear
Airways: Wheezy breathing, difficulty in breathing, coughing (especially at night)
Skin: Urticaria (hives, bumpy, itchy raised areas, rashes), Eczema (cracked, dry, or broken skin), swelling of the deep layers of the skin
Digestion: Swollen or itchy lips/tongue, stomach ache, feeling sick, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, bleeding from the bottom, reflux and poor growth
Different allergies produce a range of different symptoms and these can point to what type of allergy a child is suffering from. Many of these symptoms can develop as a result of other common childhood illnesses, too. However, with allergy, symptoms may appear suddenly, even dramatically; they can be persistent, and can appear without an obvious cause.
For e.g., a child with eczema will have chronic itchy, sore skin, while an asthma sufferer may not be able to run around with their friends, and the coughing and wheezing can affect their sleep. Allergic Rhinitis sufferers can struggle to avoid the allergens they react to, while children with a food allergy may have to worry about anaphylaxis (severe allergies causing death) if they have a severe reaction.
Suffering from any of these symptoms can have a massive impact on a child’s life. Some symptoms can be seen to lead to more severe conditions, for example, itchy rashes can lead to skin infections; and chronic diarrhoea can lead to weight loss. However, there are many more minor symptoms, such as constant runny or blocked noses that may affect the quality of a child’s life because, for example, they then suffer from headaches, lack of sleep, and lack of concentration at school. Tiredness can lead to irritability and bad moods, and this can affect both the child and whole family.
Natural Ways To Treat Allergies in Children
Usually for treating allergies, your child’s doctor might prescribe you some over-the-counter antihistamines, prescription antihistamines or epinephrine.
Treating allergies with natural remedies can help in allergies with mild symptoms. Before trying anything talk to your health practitioner, to ask what you can use.
Research has shown that the probiotic combination of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, sold as Kyo-Dophilus in stores, helps maintain digestive health and parts of the immune system.
Other natural substances that can soothe or reduce allergy symptoms are green tea, fish oil and honey.
Natural remedies for skin symptoms
There are many ways to treat skin allergy. Different creams and lotions can be found in the pharmacies. Natural ways to help soothe skin problems is to use aloe vera cream or calendula oil. Before applying any of them, wash your skin with warm water and mild soap without perfume.
If your child’s skin is dry, a fragrance-free moisturizing cream or ointment may help. To help relieve hives, apply a cool wet cloth to the area. Putting baking soda or oatmeal in your child’s bathwater might also provide a soothing effect.
Natural remedies for sinus symptoms
Installing filters on your air conditioner, avoiding pets, and staying inside when the amount of pollen allergens.
Breathing in steam from a bowl of hot water is something which can help clear congested sinuses. Other way is to use nasal lavage to clean your child’s nasal passages of mucus filled with allergens.
For this procedure, you use a neti pot or other device to flush your child’s nasal cavities out with water.
Natural remedies for stomach symptoms
If your child has diarrhea caused by some food allergens, they should eat a bland diet. This diet can include rice, smashed potatoes, baked apple, applesauce or eat bananas.
You can also look for special anti-nausea wristbands at your local drug store. They’re designed to stimulate a pressure point that might help relieve nausea.
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