Allergic problems are on the rise and one out of three children are suffering from some form of allergies. Most common allergies conditions are eczema, persistent cough, asthma and nasal allergies. Food allergies were previously thought to be uncommon but now are increasingly being recognized in children in India. Drug allergy is also not uncommon in children.
Early identification of childhood allergies will help reduce symptoms, sick days and missed school. It will improve overall health, exercise capacity and quality of life.
What is an allergy?
Allergy is an abnormal response by the body’s immune system to substances in the environment that are harmless to most people. These substances are known as allergens. People who have allergies often are sensitive to many things.
Why do some individuals develop allergy?
Many individuals have a genetic tendency to develop allergic diseases called as atopy. When atopic individuals are exposed to allergens they develop immune reactions against the allergen. During the allergic reaction antibody response occurs. These antibodies attach themselves to mast cells which respond by releasing a chemical known as histamine. Histamine leads to inflammation (redness and sweliing) causing allergic reaction.
Which organs can be involved in allergy?
Allergy can cause symptoms in the nose causing allergic rhinitis (hay fever), eyes resulting in allergic conjunctivitis, skin resulting in eczema, or hives (urticaria) and lungs resulting in asthma.
How do allergies progress over time?
The allergic diseases evolve over time with atopic dermatitis or eczema being the earliest and seen in infants. Food allergies are the next to appear over 1-3 years of age. Recurrent wheezing or asthma starts around 3-4 years of age and nasal allergies or allergic rhinitis appears around 5-6 years of age. The progression of these allergies is called as Atopic March. The timing of appearance of these allergies can be variable amongst children. All children may not get all the allergies but might get one or two. Allergic problems are more common in children where the parents or grandparents have allergies, although allergies can be seen in children without any family background of allergies.
What are the common Allergy triggers in Children?
Allergens and trigger are substances which can make allergies worse.
The common ones are as below:
- Outdoors Aeroallergens: tree pollen, grass pollen, weed pollens
- Indoors Aeroallergens: cat or dog dander, dust mites, molds
- Foods allergens: peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shell fish, eggs, milk and milk products, soy
- Irritants: cigarette smoke, perfume, deodorants
What allergic problems we deal with at Children’s Chest Clinic?
We strive to provide specialized care to children with all allergy related issues under one roof. This includes atopic dermatitis or eczema, recurrent wheezing or asthma, allergic rhinitis or nasal allergy and food allergy. We also deal with children with hives or urticaria, angioedema and anaphylaxis. We deal with children having drug allergies.
What allergy diagnostics are available at Children’s Chest Clinic?
Our services include diagnostic services like lung function testing, skin prick testing (allergy test) and drug allergy testing.
We have a state of the art Spirometry and Impulse Oscillometry system from Jeager, Germany. We can perform lung function test in children from 3 y on wards.