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Allergies in children

Wednesday, December 18, 2013    

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Allergies occur when the immune system reacts to a foreign substance such as pollen, bee venom or pet dander.

The antibodies in the immune system usually protect us from unwanted invaders that could make us sick or cause infection, but in the case of allergies, the immune system makes antibodies that identify a particular allergen as something harmful, even though it isn't. When kids for example come into contact with the allergen, the immune system's reaction can inflame the skin, sinuses, airways or digestive system.

The severity of allergies vary from person to person. Most allergies can't be cured.

Allergy symptoms depend on your particular allergy, and can involve the airways, sinuses and nasal passages, skin, and digestive system. Allergic reactions and symptoms include:

* Congestion

* Itchy, runny nose

* Itchy, watery or swollen eyes (conjunctivitis)

* Itchy skin

* Red skin

* Flaking or peeling skin

* Tingling mouth

* Swelling of the lips, tongue, face or throat

* Hives

* Anaphylaxis

* Wheezing

* Cough, chest tightness, shortness of breath

Allergies are caused by:

*Airborne allergens, such as pollen, animal dander, dust mites and mould

* Certain foods, particularly peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, eggs and milk

* Insect stings, such as bee stings or wasp stings

* Medications, particularly penicillin or penicillin-based antibiotics

* Latex or other substances you touch, which can cause allergic skin reactions

* A family history of asthma or allergies. You're at increased risk of allergies if you have family members with asthma or allergies such as hay fever, hives or eczema.

* Are a child. Although you can become allergic to something at any age, children are more likely to develop an allergy than are adults. Children sometimes outgrow allergic conditions as they get older. However, it's not uncommon for allergies to go away and then come back sometime in the future.

* Have asthma or an allergic condition. Having asthma increases your risk of developing an allergy. Also, having one type of allergic condition makes you more likely to be allergic to something else.

Take the child to see a doctor if there are symptoms you think may be caused by an allergy, especially if you notice something in your environment that seems to trigger the allergies.

For a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), go immediately to the hospital.

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