Do you or any of your family members experience some type of allergy? Well, you are not alone. Many people from all over the world suffer from some type of allergy or the other. Some are allergic to dust mites, mold, and pets, while a few are allergic to things like trees, pollen, and grass. There are also some who have food allergies.
What triggers such allergies?
All of us have an immune system that keeps us protected from invaders like bacteria and viruses. Proteins called Ig (immunoglobulin) is also present that helps start the attack. At times, our immune system attacks certain harmless invaders such as pollen, and the Ig that is responsible for such reaction is IgE. When there is an IgE elevation it can cause an allergic reaction. When the IgE living on basophil cells and mast cells are triggered, histamine is released with few other chemical mediators, and then the allergy symptoms are noticed.
Allergens can be present anywhere, in the environment, the food that we eat, and in our homes. The environmental allergens vary from season to season. In the spring season, the main reason for allergy is the pollen from trees. Kids, however, need to be exposed to such allergens many a time before they show any allergic reactions, which are not generally noticeable until they are 2-3 years of age. It is common amongst young children to develop allergic reactions at home because of dust mites and pets.
What symptoms are caused by seasonal allergies?
Seasonal allergies can cause symptoms like itching of the nose and eyes, runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, and coughing. As the allergy season will continue at least for a few weeks, the symptoms can also be noticed throughout this period.
Though the symptoms of allergies and the common cold are quite similar you till can differentiate. For instance, green/yellow mucus and fever occur with colds and not allergies. Furthermore, infections last for about 10-14 days, but allergies like the seasonal ones can continue until the seasons is over. Itching is a symptom that you can notice if you have an allergy but not if you are suffering from a common cold.
How to know what your kid is allergic to
Just keeping in mind the few symptoms earlier mentioned, a pediatrician without any testing will be able to diagnose allergies and start with a therapy. If this therapy does not work then a testing may be conducted. A testing may also be needed if the pediatrician is unable to figure out what is causing the allergic symptoms.
What type of testing will be done?
There are various types of allergy tests that can be conducted:
Skin prick test – In this case, one drop of allergen will be put on the skin and the skin surface then will be lightly scratched to induce the allergy. If redness or a bump appears then this shows the kid is suffering from that particular allergy.
Oral food test – In this test more amount of food is offered to the kid in every 10 minutes for an hour until 1 to 2 serving is eaten. After this, the patient is monitored for about 2-3 hours and if nothing happens then no food allergy is present. If symptoms are noticed then the physician will treat the patient accordingly.
Serum IgE level test – In this case, a blood test is done and the sample is sent to the lab to check certain IgE levels towards any allergen. Results arrive within 1-5 days.
How is a child’s allergy treated?
There are two treatment options for those suffering from seasonal allergies. The first is the usage of antihistamine. Kids suffering from a runny nose, sneezing problem, and are itchy, will get relief from this treatment. The antihistamine medication blocks their histamine response. The second treatment is nasal steroid which helps in case of nasal congestion. These need to be taken on a consistent basis to enjoy the results.
If prevention measures and medications do not work, then allergy shots or immunotherapy may be required. In this case, whatever allergy one suffers from is taken, diluted, and then injected back into the patient’s body. After a few injections over the period of 4-6 months, monthly injections need to be taken for about 5 years. The symptoms will start reducing within a few months. For the right patient, this treatment option can not only cure their allergies but also prevent any new allergy from developing.