Some experts believe there is currently a childhood allergy epidemic. Allergies in Western Countries have doubled in the last 25 years, with some estimates that approximately 40% of children have some type of allergic sensitivity these days. The most common allergic conditions in children are food allergies, eczema and hayfever. Children with allergies have an immune system that is overactive. It has at some stage mistakenly identified something harmless, such as dust mites or pollen, as a threat. After exposure to this ‘threat,’ the body tries to defend itself by producing antibodies and substances such as histamine. The excessive production of histamine is what causes the symptoms of allergies which can affect your child’s eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin or digestive tract.
Allergy symptoms are different for every child. Symptoms in children can be unpredictable and each allergic reaction can differ. Sometimes the same child can react differently to the same allergen at different times. Symptoms can involve one system of the body, such as the skin, or they can involve more than one part of the body. Allergic reactions can range in severity from a mildly annoying irritation to a life threatening emergency. An initial mild reaction does not mean that all future reactions will also be mild. One thing is for certain, allergies can make a child miserable, not only affecting their ability to enjoy life but also impacting their ability to concentrate, learn and develop. It really depends on the type of allergen as to what sort of symptoms your child will display. Allergy symptoms from airborne allergies, food, medicines and insect venom can all be similar.
Allergy symptoms from airborne allergens
Allergies caused by airborne allergens such as mould spores, animal dander, dust mites and pollen are very common. They are known as allergic rhinitis and these types of allergies usually develop during childhood and may start to diminish later in life. Typical symptoms of allergies caused by airborne allergens can include:
- Itchy nose
- Itchy throat
- Blocked nose
- Runny nose
- Itchy, watery and/or red eyes – known as allergic conjunctivitis
- Puffy blue tinged skin around the eyes – known as allergic “shiners.”
Allergy symptoms from food, medicine or insect venom
Children with allergies to food, medicine or insect venom may experience the following symptoms:
- Stomach ache
- Itchy, swollen or watery eyes
- Red spots
A symptom of severe allergies is known as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can occur suddenly and is a medical emergency. It can have similar symptoms to less severe allergies but then can progress quickly. It can cause swelling in the mouth and throat resulting in difficulty breathing, dizziness and fainting. Fortunately anaphylaxis only occurs in a small percentage of children.
Telfast is not indicated for anaphylaxis. If your child is at risk of such a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis, talk to your healthcare professional about and anaphylaxis plan. In a medical emergency situation call 000 for immediate medical assistance.
For more information, ASCIA website.