by Neeta Lind
What is allergy? An allergy is the bodys immune systems over-reaction to a substance that is harmless to most children. The allergen is the culprit and the bodys immune system reacts to the invader in different ways resulting to annoying and even dangerous body reactions. When the body is exposed to an allergen, the immune system of the exposed child produces immunoglobulin E or IgE. These antibodies release chemicals like histamine, into the childs bloodstream and causes inflammation and constriction of the smooth muscles. In some cases, the bodys natural defense is enough to fight the invader thus limiting the release of histamine. In some instances medication like antihistamine is needed to arrest the allergic reaction and inflammation.
Children can develop allergies in the first year or their existence as indicated by cough, rash, nasal congestion or even diarrhea after eating particular food. No race is exempted from developing allergies. The most common symptoms of an allergic reaction are: itchy and watery eyes, nasal congestion, and sneezing, red and puffy eyes. Less common symptoms are: coughing, rashes, wheezing and other bronchial asthma symptoms such as difficulty in breathing.
Genes and the environment play crucial roles in the development of allergies in children. A child with a parent who has a history of allergy will have 40% chance of developing allergies. If the child parents both have allergies, then his chance of developing allergies doubles up at 80%. The environment is full of potential allergens to children. Even if you have eliminated all possible allergens in your house, exposure is inevitable especially when the child is of school-age. Allergens such as pollens are in the air and there is just no way to avoid them.
There are ways to minimize exposure to allergens if your child has bronchial asthma. Start by removing any carpet, rug and stuffed toys from your childs bedroom and from the rest of the areas in your house where your child hangs out.
Use beddings and pillows that are hypoallergenic to minimize exposure to dust mites. Cigarette smoke, perfumes, colognes, hair spray are irritants that could trigger an allergic reaction. Find out the triggers of your allergic child for avoidance. Changes in the weather can also trigger an attack of asthma and other form of allergic reactions. Wearing of masks is effective up to a certain point.
Note that some medications, like aspirin, also cause allergic reactions. It is best to be cautious and consult with a pediatrician when giving medications to babies and children.
There are qualified pediatrics specialists in Bangkok that can help your child manage his/her asthma through medication and desensitization.