Allergies In Children

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Allergies In Children
Allergies In Children
Video: Allergies In Children
Video: Allergies in Children I 1 2023, February
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Allergy in children

The foundation stone for allergic diseases is often laid in childhood. For example, if a child suffers from neurodermatitis, the likelihood of developing an allergy (e.g. to pollen) in the course of their life increases. The path often leads via "hay fever" to allergic asthma (so-called "floor change"). Food allergies can also start in childhood. It is crucial to recognize and treat an allergy as early as possible.

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  • Advice, downloads & tools
  • Genes and environment
  • Ways of prevention
  • Typical allergies in childhood
  • Early diagnosis is important
  • therapy

Genes and environment

If the parents suffered or already suffered from an allergy, the risk of developing one themselves is considerably higher than in families with no previous allergies. But not only the genetic material, but also the environment plays an important role.

Ways of prevention

Possibilities of primary prevention (ie to prevent the occurrence of allergies) during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unfortunately hardly possible. Neither a specific diet for the mother before or after the birth, nor a delayed introduction of complementary foods has so far been of any clear benefit to the children. The secondary prevention is useful when there is already an allergy. This consists of avoidance measures (e.g. mite remediation, general avoidance of allergy triggers) and specific immunotherapy, which can prevent the allergy from progressing. For more information on allergy prevention, see Preventing Allergies.

Typical allergies in childhood

The common allergic manifestations in children include atopic eczema (neurodermatitis), food allergies, allergic rhinoconjunctivis and allergic bronchial asthma.

Neurodermatitis

Atopic eczema can occur in infancy - especially in children with a genetic predisposition. Weeping, itchy and crusty foci form on the skin - mostly on the chin, forehead, cheeks, neck and neck (so-called predilection points). In small children and school children, the flexor joints are often affected. Skin eczema changes in the course of development, whereby chronic skin changes (so-called lichenifications) can also form. For more information, see Neurodermatitis.

Food allergies

Food allergies usually lead to skin rashes (urticaria, Quincke's edema, worsening eczema) or digestive problems (mostly diarrhea or vomiting) in babies. The most common food allergies in childhood include chicken eggs and cow's milk. Allergies to wheat flour, soy, fish or peanuts are less common.

Dietary measures are often only carried out up to school age, since by then a tolerance to the allergens can develop in the case of many food allergies (e.g. milk or egg). In the case of other allergens, such as peanuts, however, persistence of the allergy is to be expected and a lifelong diet must be followed in some cases. For more information, see Food Allergies.

Allergic rhinoconjunctivitis

Allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (allergic rhinitis) can begin between the ages of three and seven - rarely earlier. It is an allergic runny nose and an eye infection. Several allergens (e.g. pollen, house dust mites) are possible triggers.

Allergic asthma

If symptoms appear in infancy that indicate allergic asthma (eg cough without an underlying cold, "whistling" of the airways), an allergy (eg to house dust mites or pets) should also be considered.

Insect poisons and medication are also less common triggers of allergies in children. Along with some foods, these can lead to life-threatening anaphylactic shock. For more information, see Emergency - Allergic Reaction and Emergency in Children.

Early diagnosis is important

The symptoms of allergic diseases in children are similar to those in adults. In the case of eczema, breathing problems (including coughing) or chronic or seasonal runny nose or watery eyes, a pediatrician and subsequently an allergy specialist or an allergy center should be consulted without hesitation in order to initiate further clarification to direct.

The diagnostic measures for children also range from a well-founded medical history (anamnesis) to blood tests (allergen-specific IgE antibody determination) to common skin tests (e.g. prick test, scratch test or patch test) and lung function tests (e.g. spirometry) from the age of six.

During the blood test, specific IgE antibodies are detected in the blood. These are to be determined individually for each allergen (e.g. cow's milk, mites, grass pollen). Multi-allergen tests (with allergen mixtures) are also possible. With an analysis of the individual protein bodies - so-called components - of an allergen (in the case of milk this would be casein, lactoglobulin, lactalbumin, for example), an even better statement about the risk and prognosis can be made. In some cases, a comprehensive chip test is also useful.

If the trigger cannot be determined through specific anamnesis, blood and skin tests, allergy provocation tests are still available, which take place under strict medical supervision. Often, several tests can only confirm the allergy.

therapy

As with adults, if you have a known allergy, avoid the triggers. You will find tips on allergen avoidance on the health portal for the following triggers:

  • Pollen
  • Animal hair
  • House dust mites
  • food
  • Molds

Further therapeutic measures - depending on the allergic disease - include specific immunotherapy (hyposensitization), cortisone and antihistamines. In allergic asthma, leukotriene receptor antagonists and ß-mimetics are also used for treatment. Desensitization is mainly used for pollen, house dust mite and insect venom allergies and, in the case of insect venom allergy, can be started before the age of six. A reliable connection between the triggering allergen and the existing symptoms is important.

The use of cortisone in particular causes headaches for many parents, as it is considered to be a "strong" drug. These fears mainly come from a time when cortisone was administered systemically (ie through tablets or injections) and given over a long period of time it can lead to undesirable effects. In asthma therapy in particular, however, only very small doses are used and inhaled to bring them directly to the site of the action (the airways). This can minimize side effects. Correct inhalation technique is crucial here (asthma training).

If there is a food allergy, nutritional advice or therapy is also used so that the child consumes enough of the important nutrients. Depending on the allergen, this is only necessary for a few years or for life.

In the case of allergic asthma and neurodermatitis, the therapy proceeds according to a standardized step scheme. You can get more information on this from the attending doctor.

Note Certain allergies require a so-called emergency kit to be carried in order to be well equipped for first aid in the event of acute, sudden symptoms. Your doctor will explain this to you, if necessary, and explain how to use it.

For more information, see:

  • Neurodermatitis
  • Food allergies
  • Food intolerance
  • pollen allergy
  • The different forms of asthma

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