Who Gets Allergies?
Anyone can get allergies and at any age. A child may have certain allergies which could disappear, only to reemerge years later. Or a person might develop allergies for the first time in adulthood. Other allergies can be lifelong.1 In some instances, allergies may develop when the body’s immunity is low, like during or just after an illness or during pregnancy. 2
However, a person’s tendency to develop allergies is higher if someone in the family also has them.3
Are Allergies Hereditary?
Allergies may be inherited, but they can also develop even if one’s family has no history of allergies. According to research, 30% to 50% of children with one parent who has an , and 60% to 80% of children with both parents who have allergies, will develop allergies.4 At the same time, a child with no family history of allergies could also develop allergies.5
is one of the most common allergies in children6, with symptoms including runny nose and sneezing, congestion, and red itchy eyes. Allergens that cause these symptoms are tiny particles that are breathed in, include dust, , pollutants, spores, and (tiny fragments of animal skin). Food allergies are also common among kids. The most common triggers include peanuts, milk, eggs, shellfish, and tree nuts. Skin allergies that result in conditions like atopic may also run in families9.
Can You Prevent Allergies in Children?
You might be pregnant with allergies and anxious about your little one also developing allergies after birth. You may have also heard that you should avoid eating certain foods for allergy prevention in your child. However, doctors don’t recommend doing this – there is no evidence that not eating certain foods in pregnancy can prevent allergies in children after birth.7 Your focus should remain on eating balanced meals for a healthy pregnancy, with foods from each food group.
According to some studies, feeding young babies with foods that are common allergens, like peanut products or eggs, may help prevent allergies to those products later8. However, not all babies who were fed peanuts or eggs did not develop an allergy. The research is also unclear on how much babies would need to eat in order to prevent developing an allergy, or if this works for all foods.
The best way to address allergies in children is to be alert to possible symptoms and identify the allergy as early as possible. This will help parents manage their children’s allergy symptoms, improving quality of life.
How to Deal with Allergies
The symptoms of some allergies can be similar to those of the common cold or flu. A doctor can help diagnose the cause of the symptoms. If it’s determined that they’re caused by an allergy, the next step is to find out what type of allergy your child has.
You can do this by consulting an allergist, who is a doctor specializing in allergy diagnosis and management.5 The allergist will usually do a skin test to find out which is causing your child’s symptoms. Once the allergy is identified, it becomes easier to manage the symptoms:5
If your kid is allergic to pet dander, your child’s bedroom should be a no-go zone for pets.
If your child has a pollen allergy, keep the windows shut as much as possible during pollen season or when the pollen count is high (typically in the morning). Consider getting a air filter for your child’s room. When going out, your child should wear a well-fitting N95 mask. If your child is allergic to mold, keep your bathrooms dry and house well-ventilated.
Vacuum instead of sweeping as the latter can agitate allergens like dust from surfaces into the air. Clean your child’s room when they are not in it. Avoid heavy curtains, rugs, and carpets in your child’s room as these can house .
All products made with the food they are allergic to should be avoided by your child. Teach your kids what foods to avoid and make sure other caregivers, as well as your child’s school, are informed of their allergy.
Always read labels to check for ingredients. Be mindful of food items that could have been cross-contaminated with your child’s allergen. Labels alerting consumers to this often include statements like, “May contain…”; “Processed in a facility that also processes…”
Some skin allergies flare up when your child's skin comes into contact with something they are allergic to. These may include soaps, fragrances, plants, and metals found in jewelry10. Children may also develop allergic reactions to baby wipes, sunscreens, or diapers. It is important to avoid contact with the item or substance your child is allergic to.
It also helps for your child to wash their skin after contact with allergy-causing substances using mild soap and warm water.
Moisturizer may help keep the skin smooth and supple after a reaction.
Antihistamines are one way to help manage allergy symptoms. An is a medication that blocks the effects of the chemical in the body. Histamine causes allergy symptoms. There are antihistamines like loratadine that are suitable for children and offer quick relief from runny nose, sneezing, and other allergy symptoms. Consider non-drowsy second-generation antihistamines for your child, so that school and playtime is not affected.
Try Loratadine (Claritin®) for non-drowsy allergy relief11,12 vs. first-generation antihistamines and cetirizine. It works in as fast as 15 minutes13 and lasts up to 24 hours12. Available in convenient tablet and syrup formats for adults and kids.
However, if your child is prone to severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reactions like , they need immediate emergency treatment in the event of an attack. Do not treat it with antihistamines.
- Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of your child’s life could strengthen the and delaying or preventing milk allergy.
- Introduce solid foods after 6 months. Eggs, fish, shellfish, dairy and other common allergenic foods can be introduced after less allergenic foods are given.
- Avoid smoking or being around smoking both while pregnant and when with your children. Exposure to smoke can increase the risk of wheezing.
IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST, CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR.
ASC Ref. Code: B130P032222CS