Allergy or hypersensitivity involves an erratic immune reaction to a harmless substance. A child with an allergy has heightened sensitivity to one or more substances that are relatively harmless to most individuals. Children with this sensitivity develop allergic reactions once the substance is taken into the body via the lungs, nose, skin or mouth.
Close look on allergens
Allergens are substances that can trigger an allergic reaction. Some of the common allergens include dust mites, pollen, foods, animals and mold spores.
Once a child absorbs an allergen, the immune system creates immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies that coat the exterior of the mast cells. Once the antibodies respond to the allergen in the future, the mast cells generate inflammatory chemicals into the bodily tissues. As a result, the symptoms of an allergic reaction occur.
An allergic reaction that occurs in the eyes, nose and bronchial tubes are typically triggered by airborne allergens such as mold, dust mites, pollen and animal dander. As for reactions that involve the skin and digestive tract, they are due to certain foods. Nevertheless, in some cases, the rashes can be instigated by airborne allergens and abrupt episodes of wheezing can be initiated by foods.
Who are at risk for allergies?
Allergies are quite common and tend to occur in some children. An allergy is considered as a main cause of illness and missing out on school. The cases are quite common among boys below 10 years old while girls 10-20 years old are more likely to be affected.
Causes of pediatric allergy
Always bear in mind that children are not born with an allergy, only the capacity to develop one. Although all are potentially allergic, some have a genetic predisposition for the development of allergies. Essentially, a child becomes allergic or highly sensitive after repetitive contact to a particular allergen, but occasionally an allergy can develop only after a single exposure.
A child who has a genetic tendency to develop one might become sensitive to cow’s milk after birth, become sensitive to cat danger at 6 years old after taking in a pet cat and throughout life can develop new allergies upon exposure in the surroundings. Take note that these sensitivities or allergies can be life-long or eventually subside over time.
A highly effective form of treatment for an allergy is elimination of the potential allergens. If a child is allergic to a dog, cat or food, it should be removed in order to eliminate the occurrence of the allergy symptoms. As for allergies to mold spores, plant pollen and dust mites, they can be partly avoided by reducing exposure to the allergens, both inside and outside the house.
In case avoidance could not effectively alleviate the symptoms, medications can be used. The long-acting antihistamines along with medications that prevent and treat inflammation are effective and only cause minimal side effects.
In some cases, allergy shots might be required to control the symptoms. The beneficial effects of the allergy shots gradually develop and might take 6-12 months of receiving the shots on a regular basis before any effect is achieved.