Your immune system protects your body against harmful substances such as viruses. But if your immune system is overly sensitive, it reacts to allergens such as pollen and specific foods. One of the many ways your body reacts to these allergens is to increase mucus production, which causes sneezing, nasal swelling, itchiness in your nose and eyes, and other symptoms. More serious allergies, however, can cause a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.
How allergens affect allergy sufferers can vary from person to person, season to season. Although doctors don’t know exactly why, common allergies are specifically identified among children.
One of the most common childhood food allergies is sensitivity to cow’s milk. Luckily, it is also one of the most commonly outgrown allergens among children by the time they’re 12 years old. If your child is allergic to diary, you can try to reintroduce milk and milk products every few months to build up immunity and see if your child can tolerate them.
Although some kids are sensitive to any egg exposure, others can tolerate eggs if they’re heated or baked. So, if you child can’t eat an omelet, you may find that he or she has no reaction to a muffin or cookie made with eggs. Continued exposure to foods with eggs baked inside could help build up tolerance over time. See an allergy specialist for testing and discuss how stringent you should be about avoiding eggs.
Peanuts and Tree Nuts
The number of kids with a peanut allergy has increased in recent years — with only 20 percent of affected children bound to outgrow peanut allergies in their lifetime. Once you discover that your child is allergic to peanuts, it is best to eliminate them from his or her diet because of the danger of a severe reaction. Also, avoid tree nuts such as walnuts, almond, and cashews to minimize the risk of cross-contamination.
To determine if your child is one of the lucky ones to outgrow the allergy, visit your child’s allergy doctor for an in-office consultation and examination. If you would like to prevent a peanut allergy altogether, feed your baby peanuts soon after you start solids. Early introduction of peanuts may offer protection against developing an allergy.
Once your child develops an allergy to pets, the only thing you can do is limit his or her exposure. It is unlikely the allergies will subside over time. You may want to consider a portable air purifier equipped with HEPA filter, which can help to remove airborne allergies. Once your child is 5 years old, speak with your child’s allergy doctor about allergy shots to reduce symptoms.
Some may develop a sensitivity to pollen, gross, ragweed, trees, and other outdoor allergens for a year or more before signs and symptoms occur. Other children may not develop them until their teenage years or later in adulthood. Once your child is 5 years old, you may want to explore allergy shots to reduce symptoms
Will Kids Outgrow Their Allergies?
If you’re the parent of a child with allergies, you’re probably wondering if these allergies will ever go away. The truth is, it depends on the child and the allergies they have. Allergies to soy, eggs and wheat will often be outgrown by the time the child is a teenager. However, children allergic to shellfish or peanuts may remain allergic through their teenage and adult years. But there are no guarantees, regardless.
Sometimes, allergies can be lessened or entirely eliminated through allergen immunotherapy (where the child is exposed to the allergen little by little, allowing them to slowly build up a resistance). Again, however, it depends on the individual. In light of this, your best option is to schedule a consultation with a doctor who specializes in allergy diagnoses and treatments.
To get you started, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shukla today to discuss and review your child’s treatment options in order find them the perfect solution.