When a child has an allergy to something, that substance, known as an allergen, triggers the immune system into releasing antibodies called immunoglobulin E. These cause the body to release histamines which are responsible for the symptoms.
Children can be allergic to anything but some of the most common allergens are pollen, dust, pets, foods such as peanuts and dairy products, latex and antibiotics such as penicillin.
Contact with an allergen can bring on an asthma attack, diarrhea, nausea, rashes, runny or stuffy nose and eczema but every parent’s worst fear is an anaphylactic reaction, which can even result in death.
Allergies should be taken seriously at all times. Parents must teach children about allergies and the seriousness of allergies.
Getting Help For Allergies
Your child's doctor can assist you in getting help with your child allergies. However some Natural Health Clinics offer allergy testing and treatment that may also be help with your child's allergies.
This is without doubt the most worrying type of allergic reaction. Once a person begins to experience anaphylaxis, they need medical treatment immediately, or the condition is likely to prove fatal. The effects of anaphylactic shock can come on rapidly and affect the whole body. The person will experience a sudden drop in blood pressure and a severe narrowing of the airways, restricting their breathing.
What if your Child has an Allergy? -
If you think your child might have an allergy, start keeping a diary, noting the time and place of any reactions. Note what they eat, what they are wearing, what they play with and where they roll around.
After about a week or two depending on the occurrences of the reaction, discuss your findings with your child’s doctor so that he can establish if your child has an allergy and the causes of the allergy.
Do not dabble with diagnosis, and definitely do not start administering over-the-counter drugs – always get your child checked out by the doctor.
Remember that every child and every allergy is different so do not play the guessing game.
Pollen Allergies and Children
A pollen allergy is also known as hay fever. The histamines produced during an allergic reaction irritate the upper respiratory passages, making them swell and causing symptoms such as sneezing and a runny nose. To help avoid symptoms of hay fever children should.have a bath and wash their hair after playing outside and they should be kept inside when you mow the lawn or when the pollen count is high.
Dust Allergies and Children
It is actually dust mite droppings that are the potential allergen. Look out for symptoms, such as a runny or blocked nose, or watery eyes and try adapting your home to see if minimising dust reduces the problem. You would need to wash sheets often in hot water and dust wood work and floors with a damp cloth. Avoid carpets and curtains, both of which hold dust.
Pet Allergies and Children
Children love their pets. Of course, the best way to control allergic reactions is to avoid the allergen and the allergen that causes pet allergies can hang around in your house for years so it is wise to avoid pets where there are children with allergies.
Latex Allergies and Children
Keep a close eye on your child’s toys. Are they getting rashes or a runny nose after playing with a particular doll or truck? If you suspect a latex allergy, take particular care around balloons, art materials and even stickers.
Make sure teachers are aware that stickers are a no-no for your child. As odd as it might sound, you’ll need to think about what your child is eating too. Bananas, apples and other fruits that may have had a sticker on their skin should be avoided.
Common food allergies include - Grain products, peanuts, shellfish, fish, eggs, milk, soy products, and citrus fruits. Food dyes and some perservatives used in foods also cause allergic reactions in some people.
If you think your child has a food allergy, you should get the child checked by his or her doctor. Speak to your child and let them know how important it is that he/she does not eat the particular food when not at home.
Alert schools, clubs, friends and other family members with whom the child might be spending time and where he might be eating.
If your child is attending a play date, birthday party or any event where food might be served, it is a good idea to get hold of the menu if that is possible or let your child take his/her own food.
Sometimes it might be wise to let the child miss a function instead of exposing him/her to an allergen that can be fatal. Siblings of children with food allergies might be affected as they might have to miss out on some food they like that should not be brought into the home.
Some allergies can be fatal and It might be a good idea to get a wrist band for your child, stating the allergy that he/she might have. Remember it is still important to notify schools, clubs, etc of allergies.
Always ask guest to your home about possible food allergies.
Stings and bites
Allergies to bites and stings from insects can trigger allergic reactions. Some of the most common insect stings in Barbados may be from mosquitoes, ‘sand flies’, bees, ants and centipedes.
While most of these stings can be harmless, mosquito bites can prove to be fatal if stung by a mosquito carrying the ‘aedes aegypti’ germ which is the brings on the dreaded ‘dengue fever’.
Children should wear clothing and or creams to protect them from mosquitoes bites at all times.
If you suspect that your child has digested a poisonous substance, get immediate medical help, especially if the child cannot stay awake, is having trouble breathing or is twitching and shaking out of control.
Do not try to make the child vomit. This may make the child more ill. If poison is on the child’s skin or clothes, remove the clothing and pour large amounts of water over the skin. Wash the skin thoroughly several times with soap.
If a child gets poison in his or her eyes, splash clean water in the eyes for at least 10 minutes.
Get medical help immediately and If possible, take a sample of the poison or medicine or its container with you. Keep the child as still and quiet as possible.
If a child is bitten by a venomous animal or insect it is important to see a health-care provider immediately for treatment.