General allergies in children

An allergic reaction is the body's response to irritants. In an attempt to defend the body, the immune system produces antibodies which prompt cells to manufacture histamine and other chemicals. The emission of these chemicals activates reactions of the throat, nose, eyes, lungs, gastrointestinal tract and skin.

What’s allergic rhinitis?

Harmless substances can trigger an allergic reaction. Allergic rhinitis is a reaction to a specific substance like seasonal pollen. Other allergens include mould, dust mites and old animal skin (pet dander).

What are the signs of allergic rhinitis?

A runny and stuffy nose, itching, coughing and sore eyes are common signs of allergic rhinitis.

Other symptoms include:

  • Dark rings under the eyes
  • Persistent headaches
  • Itchy skin or eczema
  • Hives
What does the diagnosis involve?

A physical exam and a skin prick test determines whether your child has any allergies. When small red lumps form on your child's skin during a prick test, this is a sign of an allergic reaction. A blood test can also be done to check the immune response to different allergens.

What does treatment involve?

Certain antihistamines inhibit the production of histamine, the natural chemical responsible for allergic reactions.

Other treatments include:

  • Decongestants: Decongestants to relieve a congested nose and sinusitis only work for over three days.
  • Nasal sprays & eye drops: Like decongestants, eyes drops must only be used for a short time. Unlike eye drops, nasal sprays can be used over some time.
What’s asthma?

Asthma is inflammation of the airways and occurs when the airway lining swells and the surrounding muscles constrict. Air pollution, pollen and pet dander contribute to asthma in children.

What are the signs of asthma?

Wheezing, which sounds like whistling, is a widespread symptom of asthma.

Other symptoms include:

  • Tight chest and/or shortness of breath.
  • Anxiety
  • Lethargy
What does the diagnosis involve?

A family history of breathing problems or respiratory diseases increases a child’s risk of asthma. Allergies like hives or eczema are also factors that contribute to asthma in children.

Dr Vahed carries out a physical exam to evaluate the condition of your child’s airways. Breathing tests are not performed on children under five years of age as the results are unclear at this stage.

What does treatment involve?

Chronic asthma requires long-term care. Dr Vahed prescribes acute treatments to treat the exacerbation and chronic medication to manage asthma in children.

What’s allergic conjunctivitis?

Allergic conjunctivitis affects the lining of the eyes. When the eyes are exposed to mould spores or pollen, they become inflamed and begin to water. A membrane known as conjunctiva that rests within the eyelids is prone to inflammation as a result of contact with allergens. When the body perceives a particular substance as a threat, it releases histamine which sets off an allergic reaction to triggers such as dust, pollen and chemical scents from perfume.

What are the signs of allergic conjunctivitis?

Sore, watery, inflamed eyes are a sign of allergic conjunctivitis. Puffy eyes in the morning is another symptom of the condition.

What does the diagnosis involve?

Inflammation in the white region of the eyes and tiny lumps in the eyelids indicate allergic conjunctivitis.

What does treatment involve?

Cold therapy or compression alleviates inflammation and relieves discomfort. It also helps to minimise your child's exposure to perfumes, dyes or chemicals. Apart from home care, medication such as antihistamines and anti-inflammatory eye drops relieve swollen, red eyes.

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