The Curious Case of Allergies

Are you one of those parents who would unwittingly find themselves tending to scratchy backs and runny noses? Do you read the ingredient panel before reading the Maximum Retail Price panel on a product unit? Does an incumbent change in weather drive you to near fatal anxiety? You, my friend, are not alone. In fact, statistics says that 6 million children suffered from some sort of food allergy in the US.

An allergy is a reaction of the immune system to any external substance in the environment. This substance is called the ‘allergen’. When a child comes in contact with an allergen by way of eating it or touching it or breathing it, her immune system treats it like an invader and releases chemicals like histamines to fight it. The release of these chemicals begin to irritate the body in numerous ways. Some children get a runny nose, others get an itchy skin, while many others suffer from bloating, swelling of body parts etc.

Upon removal of the allergen from your toddler’s environment, the allergy would also go away. This allergy could be mild and rare or it could be ongoing and severe, it depends on your child’s body and on the exposure to the allergen.

There are several kinds of allergies that an infant or a toddler may carry. Food allergy is one of the most common forms of allergy. Others are Allergic Rhinitis (e.g. hay fever), drug allergy, respiratory allergy, skin allergy etc.

It is common occurrence to mistake your kid’s allergies as a case of cold (in case of runny noses) or hygiene (in case of itching). However, you can be observant about certain symptoms to conclude if your child is suffering from an allergy.

Symptoms to Watch Out  

  1. She always has a cold. Her nose is runny and stuffy and you are constantly worried about it (a cold only takes a couple of days to clear up..)
  2. She is often found scratching herself on her hands, legs and scalp.
  3. Her eyes are watery and red most of the time.
  4. She has a dry cough.
  5. She has dark patches or a darker skin tone under her eyes, It could be browner, blue-y or purplish.
  6. She sneezes a lot.
  7. Her mucus is thin and clear.

If you answered in yes to most of these questions, you may want to check if she has an allergy. The best way to identify the allergy is to notice the time when the symptoms surface. If she was fine last few days and suddenly her nose is runny again,it may be an allergy attack. You may want to notice if there is a change in weather, or she consumed a food she has not eaten in the last few days. Similarly, check for her bedding, her clothes and other belongings for any possible allergen. For example, her skin may get itchy every time she plays with a particular feather pillow.

This is not an easy task. Finding out what your kid is allergic to, requires constant observation and cause and effect connection. It is quite a sleuth job! It may even take you a few months to figure out, but you will. And once you do, it will help you in keeping your kid allergy free.



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