5 Common Allergies in Children to Look Out For

From a child who sneezes a lot and develops a rash or hives frequently to one who gets cramps or nausea after eating certain foods, allergies are some of the most common health problems in children.

Although allergies tend to occur in children from families with a history of such reactions, some children may develop an allergic reaction to an allergen even if no one in the family does. Common allergens include peanuts, pollen, medicines, insect stings and animal dander.

According to SingHealth, most allergic reactions in children can be easily controlled, but some can lead to an anaphylactic reaction, a serious allergic reaction that progresses rapidly and can be fatal. Thus, it is important to know the symptoms and triggers of common childhood allergies and seek immediate medical attention.

The following list includes some common allergies in children to look out for:

Asthma

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. Children with asthma often experience respiratory discomfort such as cough, tight chest and breathing difficulties. These signs tend to be more intense in the morning and after physical exercise.

Common triggers of asthma include:

  • Viral infections
  • Cigarette smoke
  • House dust mites
  • Weather changes
  • Animal fur
  • Stress

Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is associated with a group of symptoms affecting the nose and can give your child an itchy and runny nose. Children with this allergic condition often experience watery and itchy eyes, which may become red and swollen; they may also start breathing through their mouths.

Symptoms of allergic rhinitis as stated above usually occur when your child breathes in something that he/she is allergic to, such as, house dust mites, mould and animal dander.

Eczema

About 1 in 10 children will develop eczema, a skin condition whereby the skin becomes red and irritated, and sometimes with small, fluid-filled bumps.

Symptoms of eczema typically appear within the first few months of life, and almost always before a child turns 5. In infants, eczema tends to occur on the cheeks, behind the ears and on the thighs. As your child grows up, these dry, itchy and red patches are often found in the folds of the neck, arms and legs.

The most common cause of eczema is atopic dermatitis, a condition that happens when someone is overly sensitive to allergens in the environment, including pollens, moulds, dust, animal dander and certain foods.

Food allergies

One in every 13 children worldwide are affected by food allergies, a condition which occurs when the body “rejects” a particular food and deem it as harmful. As a result, the immune system (which fights infection and disease) creates antibodies to fight the food allergen, which is the substance in the food that triggers the allergy. These antibodies trigger allergic symptoms such as a runny nose; an itchy skin rash; a tingling in the tongue, lips or throat; swelling; abdominal pain and wheezing

Common triggers of food allergies in children include peanuts, eggs, wheat, soy and shellfish.

Hives

Hives is a common condition caused by food allergies, medicines and viral infection. They typically appear as raised red bumps or welts on the skin. Some forms of hives have a pale centre as well.

Although hives can be itchy and can burn or sting at times, they are harmless and last anywhere from half an hour to a couple of days. They usually show up in clusters and may join together to form larger patches. In prolonged cases, new hives can show up to replace the old ones as they fade.

allergies in children

Treatment Options for Childhood Allergies

When it comes to treating allergies in children, the most important step is to identify and avoid the allergy triggers. Your doctor may also prescribe allergy medications to reduce your child’s allergic symptoms which can be in the form of oral medications, nasal sprays or eye drops.

Allergy shots may be recommended in cases of severe allergies. This treatment usually involves a series of injections made from purified allergen extracts, given over a period of a few years.

When to Seek Help

If your child’s allergic symptoms get worse over a few days, do consult your doctor for treatment.

You should seek immediate medical attention if your child suddenly develop severe or rapidly worsening symptoms, such as:

  • Swelling of the lips, tongue or throat
  • Wheezing, chest tightness, loud breathing or difficulty breathing
  • Sweating, nausea or vomiting
  • Widespread rash

 

Reviewed by Dr Herbert Tan, General Practitioner and Resident Doctor of MindChamps Medical @ OneKM.

For information and treatment on childhood allergies, book an appointment at MindChamps Medical clinic now.

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