Understanding Allergies in Children: Causes, Symptoms, and Management

April 9, 2024

Common immune system reactions known as allergies happen when the body misinterprets innocuous chemicals for harmful ones. Allergies in children can take many different forms and have a serious negative influence on their health and wellbeing. At Al Hilal Hospitals, we are aware of how critical it is to identify and treat childhood allergies as soon as possible.

Types of Allergies in Children:

  1. Food Allergies: Fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, and soy products are common sources of food allergies.

– Hives, swelling, digestive problems, and, in extreme situations, anaphylaxis are some of the mild to severe symptoms that may be experienced.

  1. Seasonal Allergies (Allergic Rhinitis): Caused by pollen from grasses, weeds, and trees at particular times of the year.

– Sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, watery or itchy eyes, and coughing are some of the symptoms.

  1. Allergies related to pets: – Reactions to saliva, urine, or skin flakes from pets Sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and skin rash are possible symptoms.
  1. Allergies to Insect Stings: – Responses to insect stings, especially those from fire ants, hornets, wasps, or bees.

– Localised swelling and redness to severe reactions like anaphylaxis are examples of symptoms.

  1. Medication Allergies: – Hypersensitivity responses to prescription pharmaceuticals, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antibiotics (penicillin), and others.

– A variety of symptoms may appear, such as rash, swelling, itching, and in extreme situations, anaphylaxis.

Causes of Allergies in Children:

  1. Hereditary Propensity:

– Family History: Having an allergy condition-ridden family is one of the biggest risk factors for allergies in children. A child’s chance of acquiring allergies is higher if one or both parents have hay fever, asthma, eczema, or allergies.

– Atopic Triad: The term “atopic triad” describes a predisposition to develop allergic reactions, including allergic rhinitis (hay fever), asthma, and eczema (atopic dermatitis). It is more common for children who have one of these problems to develop others.

  1. Exposures in Early Childhood:

– Early Allergen Introduction: A child’s chance of acquiring food allergies may rise if they are fed some allergenic foods too early in life. On the other hand, there may be an increased risk if allergenic foods are introduced later than is advised.

– Allergen Exposure in the house: Children who grow up with common allergens in their house, like mould, dust mites, pet dander, and pollen, may become sensitive to these things.

  1. Environmental Elements

– Pollen: During particular seasons of the year, children who are allergic to grasses, trees, and weeds may develop seasonal allergies, often known as allergic rhinitis.

– Dust mites: These minuscule organisms flourish in domestic dust and have the potential to cause allergy reactions, particularly in carpets, upholstery, and bedding.

– Pet Dander: Pet allergies can result from allergenic proteins present in skin flakes, saliva, and urine.

– Mould: In moist areas like kitchens, bathrooms, and basements, mould spores can be a major allergy trigger.

– Insect Allergens: Children who are allergic to insect stings are especially susceptible to allergic reactions triggered by the stings of insects such fire ants, hornets, wasps, and bees.

  1. Immunological Reactions:

– Immune System Overactivity: Allergies arise from the immune system mistaking benign molecules, known as allergens, for dangerous ones. To neutralise the apparent threat, the immune system reacts by producing antibodies known as immunoglobulin E (IgE).

– Imbalance in Immune Regulation: The immune system may occasionally fail to appropriately control how it reacts to allergens, which can cause heightened reactions.

  1. Exposure to Secondhand Smoke:

– Allergies are more likely to develop in children who are exposed to tobacco smoke, whether during pregnancy or after delivery. Children’s sensitivity to allergies can be increased by secondhand smoke, which can irritate their airways.

  1. Nutritional Elements:

– Breastfeeding: Research has indicated that providing a kid with exclusive breast milk for the first six months of life can lower their likelihood of developing allergies. Antibodies found in breast milk aid in allergy defence.

-Early Solid Food Introduction: Introducing solid meals too soon or postponing them longer than is advised can affect immune system development and raise the risk of allergies.

  1. Modifications to Gut Microbiota:

The gut microbiota, or the makeup of bacteria in the gut, influences the development of the immune system. Allergies may arise as a result of early-life disruptions in the balance of gut microorganisms.

  1. Pollution of the Air:

Children’s chance of developing allergies may rise when they are exposed to air pollutants, such as those from cars, factories, and indoor sources. Pollutants can aggravate allergy reactions and irritate the respiratory system.

  1. Hypothesis on Hygiene:

According to the hygiene hypothesis, a higher likelihood of allergies may result from less exposure to germs and diseases in early life. According to the notion, being exposed to specific pathogens lowers the chance of allergic reactions and helps to train the immune system.

  1. Emotional and Stress Factors:

Allergies may develop or worsen as a result of stress and emotional factors like melancholy and anxiety. Children who experience stress may have weakened immune systems and be more prone to allergy reactions.

Common Symptoms of Allergies in Children:

  1. Respiratory Symptoms:

– Persistent coughing.

– Wheezing or difficulty breathing.

– Runny or stuffy nose.

– Sneezing.

  1. Skin Symptoms:

– Hives (red, raised, itchy welts on the skin).

– Eczema (dry, red, itchy patches of skin).

– Skin rashes or redness.

  1. Digestive Symptoms:

– Nausea or vomiting.

– Diarrhea.

– Stomach pain or cramps.

  1. Eye Symptoms:

– Watery, itchy, or red eyes.

– Swelling around the eyes.

– Conjunctivitis (pink eye).

  1. Anaphylaxis (Severe Allergic Reaction):

– Rapid onset of symptoms.

– Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.

– Difficulty breathing.

– Rapid heartbeat.

– Drop in blood pressure.

Contact our allergy specialists at Al Hilal Hospitals if your kid is exhibiting allergy symptoms. We provide thorough assessments, allergy testing, and customised care regimens.

Diagnosis of Allergies in Children:

  1. Medical History and Physical Examination: – An in-depth account of the patient’s symptoms and possible causes.

– Physical examination to determine allergic reaction symptoms and indicators.

  1. Allergy Testing: – Skin prick test: Skin is pierced after small doses of allergens are applied to it to check for reactions.

– Blood tests to gauge antibody levels associated to allergies, such as IgE testing.

  1. Elimination Diet: This involves taking probable food allergies out of the child’s diet and monitoring any improvements in symptoms.

Management and Treatment Options:

  1. Avoiding Allergens: Whenever feasible, recognise and stay away from triggers.

– Make sure the child’s surroundings are tidy and clear of mould, dust, and pet dander.

  1. Drugs:

– Antihistamines: Used to treat symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, and itching.

– Decongestants: These relieve stuffiness in the nose.

– Nasal corticosteroids: To treat nasal irritation and allergic rhinitis.

– Epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen): to treat anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction.

  1. Immunotherapy for allergies: This is a long-term procedure that helps the child’s immune system become less sensitive to certain allergens.
  1. Education and Action Plans: – Provide parents and other carers with information on how to identify and handle allergic reactions.

– Create an action plan for allergies that outlines what to do in the event of an allergic reaction.

  1. Consultation with Allergy Specialists: – Sending someone for a thorough assessment and management of allergies to an allergy specialist.

Speak with one of our healthcare specialists by contacting us right now. We are available to offer direction, encouragement, and specialised attention for your child’s allergy requirements.

Our team of allergy specialists at Al Hilal Hospitals is committed to giving kids with allergies comprehensive care. Make an appointment with us right now to discuss how to best manage your child’s allergies so they don’t limit their potential.