10 Things To Know About Your Child’s Allergies Now
London naturopath in Kensington and Chelsea Susannah sees complex cases. Acquired allergies and intolerances: are we expected to live with them?
Allergic conditions have been diagnosed in 50% of UK children . [tweetthis]In the UK 50% of children have been diagnosed with one or more #allergic conditions. [/tweetthis] Allergies occur when the immune system reacts, by producing antibodies, to a foreign substance (allergen). When the immune system identifies this substance as harmful, this is an allergic reaction. The same substance does not cause a reaction in most people. Where do our children’s allergies come from? Why is this fast becoming an allergy epidemic?
The allergy epidemic. Fast Facts.
- Most to least common environmental allergens: pollen, grass, dust mites, molds or moulds and weeds. Food intolerance/sensitivity: generally less serious, often limited to digestive problems.
- Severity ranges from minor irritation to anaphylaxis —a potentially life-threatening emergency. 90% of food-allergic reactions are to peanuts, eggs, milk, (shell)fish, wheat, soy, tree nuts. Symptoms: h ives, eczema, asthma, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea. Anaphylaxis also causes confusion, rapid heart beat/palpitations, swelling of lips, tongue, throat, bluish skin, nausea, dizziness, fainting.
The allergy epidemic – understanding it gives us knowledge to combat the allergy epidemic.
- The pathophysiology of environmental allergies is fairly well understood. Allergies and asthma often occur together. Diagnosis can be made by history taking, physical exam and a Radioallergosorbent test (RAST) (prick-skin test). Results are nearly immediate. 50-60% of positive skin test results are also false positives. ImmunoCAP (blood test measuring levels of antibodies to specific food proteins). Results take up to one week. Highly controlled food challenges can render a definitive diagnosis.
- Introducing high allergenic foods to your child is advisable from 6 months. these foods should be introduced one at a time. leaving 3 days in between each new food is best. It is encouraged to breastfeed babies with eczema or a family history for 4 months+. Avoid cow’s milk or soy formulas. Hydrolysed protein formulas are best. “Hypoallergenic” formulas will not prevent but may delay allergy onset.
- Allergic reactions share a genetic link. Specific allergies do not. Studies show a gender-specific genetic link in inherited allergies.
- Quercetin can block the effects of histamine before they start. Recommended: 500 mg 1-2 times/ day, weeks before allergy season+ vitamin C.
- The best way to fight allergies is to avoid the offending allergen. This is not easy. Controlling your environment is a start. Keep homes cool, dry, non-smoking, low-odour and ventilated (use a pollen-proof screen). If keeping carpets think small, vacuum and dust often. Launder sheets. pillowcases (55°C water) and wash indoor pets, especially cats, after discussing this with your vet weekly. Replace furnaces and air-conditioner filters while in use. Wash stuffed animals (55°C water/place in a plastic bag in the freezer for a few days) monthly.
- Leukotriene inhibitors and steroids sprayed in the nose can help with symptoms. Conventionally anti-histamines (diphenhydramine; check side–effects) with/out “Mast cell stabilisers” or steroids are given.
- Changing medication prevents building a tolerance to them.
- Subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) or allergy shots are injections of allergens given at increasing dosages. Typical treatment: weekly shots for the first 3-6 months, then monthly for 3-5 years.
- Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT) – a preventive treatment – is not as effective as shots but is safer, since there’s less risk of side effects (anaphylaxis).
- In the case of severe allergies, carry an EpiPen in case of anaphylaxis.
- Most allergies can’t be cured. However, potentially life-threatening peanut allergies have recently essentially cured 9/10 recipients of a new treatment using a dose of a probiotic, together with peanut protein in increasing amounts.
Susannah Makram is a registered Naturopath. Her diagnostic skills are recognised as a registered Osteopath. Her interests in Naturopathic Nutrition, nutrigenomics, epigenetics and the functional approach to healthcare make her Portfolio treatment Safe, Clinical, Practical, Effective.
When you correctly identify your child’s allergies, Susannah will help you find a suitable strategy to help manage your child’s allergies. Managing your child’s allergy symptoms need not be a lifelong burden.