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Not only do we typically see a resurgence of colds this time of year, but many children are reacting to their environment as well. Spring brings us an abundance of mold spores and pollens, as Mother Nature wakes her sleepy vegetation with sunshine, and more rain. Childhood allergies can also be year-round, and tend to be one of the top reasons for pediatric visits. Children can be allergic, or sensitive, to a number of things in their environment and diet.
There are many components that play into whether or not a child will develop allergies, but we do know genetics plays a role. If one parent has allergies the chance of a child developing them is 30-50 percent. When both parents have allergies that number increases to 60-80 percent. However, children who have no known family history can still develop allergies. Environmental factors are the main suspects in this case.
Interesting fact: The single most common allergy among infants and children in the first year is to the protein in cow’s milk.
Environmental allergies (inhalant allergies) are often referred to as hay fever. Both environmental and food allergies can cause similar symptoms.
- Excessive mucus secretion/ Congestion
- Swelling of the nasal cavity of nasal and throat tissue, which can lead to trouble breathing
- Disturbed sleep and possibly sleep apnea
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Itchy throat and eyes
- Dark circles under the eyes (allergic shiners)
- Puffy, watery eyes
- Swollen tongue or lips
- Hives, other skin rashes such as eczema
- Cough is rare
- No fever
Most common environmental allergens:
- Dust mites
- Animal dander
- Mold spores
Food allergies (and sensitivities) are also common in childhood. In infants allergens may cause problems such as colic, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rashes, eczema and congestion. Other symptoms include allergic shiners (bluish discoloration around both eyes) and puffiness beneath the eyes may also appear.
A child with allergies and/or sensitivities may also have recurrent sore throats, chronic nasal congestion, and recurring ear infections. Children under the age of three are most likely to have food sensitivities because their immune systems cannot yet tolerate a wide range of new substances. Fortunately, they usually grow out of these reactions.
Interesting Fact: 95% of children’s food allergies are due to cow’s milk protein, egg whites, wheat proteins, soybeans, shellfish, fish, peanuts, and tree nuts. Other common allergens include corn, citrus, chocolate, and food additives.
Allergies have been known to be the underlying cause of attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in some cases. Studies have shown children with severe allergies are more likely to be aggressive, depressed or irritable, than children with no allergies.
Diagnosis: There are various laboratory tests that can help to identify environmental allergies and/or food sensitivities. At Flourish Natural Medicine we offer both allergy and food sensitivity testing for you, or your little one. We will also work together to build and support the immune system to relieve the symptoms associated with allergies.
If you are concerned your child may have allergies, please call Dr. Schulz to schedule a consult, and discuss your options.