Allergies in Children and Why Do They Get It?

Allergies are defined as an abnormal immune response to normally harmless substances as if they were a dangerous invader. These substances can also be known as allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, or specific foods. This happens when the body produces lgE antibiotics in response to allergen exposure. The allergic reaction can cause mild to severe symptoms in various parts of the body, including the skin, respiratory system, digestive system, and cardiovascular system. 

Children are generally more susceptible to allergies than adults because their immune systems are still developing. Furthermore, because children spend more time outside, trying new foods, and interacting with different people in preschools, they are more likely to be exposed to potential allergens. Some common allergy triggers in children include pollen, insect bites or stings, animal hair or fur, dust mites, perfume, cigarette smoke, and foods such as peanuts and eggs.

Symptoms of Allergies in Children

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy eyes
  • Skin rashes
  • Hives
  • Itchy skin
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Stomach pain, diarrhoea, vomiting

Common Allergies Children Have

  • Food Allergies

Children can be allergic to a wide range of foods, but some of the most common allergens include peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, soy, dairy, and seafood. 

  • Seasonal Allergies

Also known as allergic rhinitis, seasonal allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to pollen from trees, grasses, or weeds. 

  • Animal Allergies

Some children can be allergic to the dander (skin flakes), saliva, or urine of dogs, cats, or other animals.

  • Dust Mite Allergies

Dust mites are tiny insects that live in bedding, carpet, and upholstered furniture. An unsanitary home can cause dust mite allergies in children.

  • Insect Allergies

Some children can have an allergic reaction to insect stings or bites. Symptoms can range from mild redness and swelling to severe anaphylaxis, depending on the child’s sensitivity and the type of insect.

Treatment Options for Allergy in Children

  • Medications: Medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal corticosteroids can help relieve allergy symptoms. 
  • Immunotherapy: This exposes children to small amounts of an allergen over time, which helps to reduce the severity of allergic reactions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes allergies to develop in children?

Allergens such as pollen, animal dander, or certain foods can cause an allergic reaction in children.

Is it OK to leave allergies untreated?

It is not recommended to leave allergies untreated as they can cause discomfort and even be life-threatening in some cases. Untreated allergies can also lead to other health problems, such as sinus infections, ear infections, and more.

At what age do allergies get worse?

Allergies can develop at any age and may worsen or improve over time. During adolescence and young adulthood, allergies may either continue to be a problem for some, or may become less severe or disappear altogether. This depends on each child’s immune system.

How do you test a child for allergies?

A child can be tested for allergies in three different ways: skin prick test, blood test, and a provocation test.