Once again there was a recent news story about the increasing numbers of kids all around the world with allergies. In a recent issue of the British medical journal, Lancet, it was reported the number of children with allergy problems such as allergic rhinitis, asthma and eczema have increased substantially, especially in the last 10 years.
There is also a drive to eliminate the use of the word asthma, as it is now believed to really be a number of different diseases. Around 300 million people now have asthma and that number is expected to go up to 400 million in less than 20 years.
Allergies are a type of hypersensitivity that involves IgE antibodies. They can be caused by a number of different allergens such as cats, dust mites, pollen and certain foods. Symptoms include asthma, allergic rhinitis, skin problems and in severe cases, anaphylactic shock.
The cause of allergies is still not clear, but much research is being conducted to find the cause and to better treat the symptoms.
Tips for kids with allergies:
– If your child is allergic to foods like peanuts, make sure their teachers are aware of it – another child may bring treats to school with peanuts or peanut butter.
– If your child can’t swallow pills – Zyrtec is available as a syrup and is approved for kids over 6 months. Also available is the Claritin Reditab which dissolves.
– To help distinguish between allergies and a cold in young children remember that colds usually go away after 10-14 days and fever and muscle aches may accompany a cold, but not an allergy.
– If allergy medications seem too expensive see if a generic version is available or ask your doctor if they have free samples.
As I’m plagued by allergies myself, I’m writing a series of articles about allergies. The first one is now up at: Allergies: An Introduction. (Come back to that page for links to the rest of the articles in the series.)
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