Allergic diseases continue to increase with each passing day in Turkey like the rest of the world. Allergic diseases are common diseases in children and adults. Allergy is an overreaction to substances that enter through the immune system or come into contact with the body. Substances that cause an allergic reaction are called allergens. While sometimes allergy is manifested by very mild symptoms, and in other times it can be manifested by severe symptoms that cause life-threatening symptoms. The abnormal response of our body may vary from person to person.
How Does Allergy Develop in Children?
In an allergic reaction typically symptoms that occur in the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, stomach, or skin are triggered. Allergies can also trigger asthma symptoms for some people. In the most serious cases, a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis (Allergic Shock) may occur.
Allergies are more likely to develop in these situations:
- If the family has asthma or allergies such as hay fever, hives or eczema
- If you had Asthma or any other allergic condition in childhood
Allergy diseases can occur for variety of reasons, but genetic predisposition is an extremely important factor in the emergence of these diseases. With genetic predisposition, allergic symptoms may appear and we can be sensitized against the allergens we encounter in time. Environment and genetics; are two important factors that can not be separated from each other in the emergence of allergic diseases.
What are the Symptoms of Allergic Disease in Children?
Allergy symptoms that develop due to the relevant allergen may affect the respiratory tract, sinuses and nasal passages, skin and digestive system. Allergic reactions can be slight or severe. In some serious cases, allergies can trigger a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.
The main symptoms of allergic rhinitis (hay fever);
- Itching in the nose, eyes, or palate
- Runny nose, nasal congestion
- Watery, red or swollen eyes (conjunctivitis)
The main symptoms of food allergy;
- Tingling in the mouth
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, face, or throat
The main symptoms of insect sting allergy;
- A large area of swelling in the sting area (edema)
- Itching or hives all over the body
- Cough, chest tightness, wheezing, or shortness of breath
The main symptoms of drug allergy;
- Facial swelling
The main symptoms of atopic dermatitis, an allergic skin condition also known as eczema;
- Flaking or peeling
Some types of allergies, including food and insect sting allergies, can trigger a serious reaction known as anaphylaxis. It can cause anaphylaxis, a life-threatening medical emergency. Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Drop in blood pressure
- Severe shortness of breath
- Skin rash
- Weak pulse
- Nausea and vomiting
Diagnosis in Allergic Diseases in Children
Your doctor will evaluate whether there is an allergy condition;
- Ask detailed questions about signs and symptoms
- Makes detailed physical examination
- May ask you to keep a detailed diary of symptoms and possible triggers.
If you are allergic to food, your doctor;
- Prompts you to keep a detailed diary of the food you eat
- During the allergy assessment, asks if you stop eating the suspected food.
When our immune system starts to see a normally harmless substance as a dangerous substance, allergic diseases begin. The immune system then produces antibodies for that allergen. When exposed to the allergen again, these antibodies can release a range of immune system chemicals, such as histamine, which cause allergy symptoms.
Common allergy triggers include:
- Airborne allergens are allergens such as pollen, animal dandruff, dust mites and mold.
- Some food, especially peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, eggs and milk
- Insect stings such as bee or wasp
- Medicines, especially penicillin or penicillin-based antibiotics
- Latex or other substances you touch can cause allergic skin reactions.
Allergic Diseases in Children
Allergic diseases in children can manifest themselves in many different ways. Sometimes it only causes damage to one organ, and sometimes it causes problems that affect our entire body. While symptoms of allergic rhinitis and asthma are seen in the respiratory system, symptoms of the skin such as eczema, urticaria or symptoms of digestive system like gastritis and reflux may occur later. Therefore, it should be remembered that allergic diseases may manifest itself with other symptoms over time.
The most common ones in allergic diseases and their symptoms are listed below. It should be kept in mind that these diseases or complaints interact with each other, that is, they can be seen together.
Seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) is caused by airborne pollen at different times of the year in different parts of the country.
Allergic rhinitis can also be triggered by ordinary indoor allergens, such as dried skin pieces, urine and saliva found on pet hair, mold, dust mites and dirt from cockroach particles. This is also called chronic allergic rhinitis, as symptoms typically occur year-round.
In addition to allergen triggers, symptoms may occur because of irritants such as smoke and strong odors, or changes in air temperature and humidity. These are caused by inflammation in the nasal membrane because of allergic rhinitis and increases sensitivity.
At least one in three people with rhinitis symptoms is not allergic. Non-allergic rhinitis usually affects adults and causes symptoms, especially runny nose and nasal congestion throughout the year. This situation is different from allergic rhinitis because it is not related to the immune system.
Also known as allergic conjunctivitis or ocular allergy, an eye allergy occurs when this condition irritates the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the sensitive membrane that covers the eye and the inside of the eyelid.
The most common causes of allergic conjunctivitis are seasonal allergens such as pollen and mold spores. People with seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) normally indicate an increase in these symptoms when they go outdoors in high pollen days.
Indoor allergens, such as dust mites and pet dandruff, can also cause eye allergies year-round. If you suffer from this type of allergy, you may find that your symptoms worsen during certain activities, such as cleaning your home or caring for your pet.
Allergy and asthma often occur together. Substances such as pollen, dust mites and pet dandruff that trigger hay fever symptoms can also cause asthma symptoms. In some people, skin or food allergies can cause symptoms of asthma. This is called allergic asthma or allergy related asthma.
Chemicals released by the immune system lead to allergy signs and symptoms, such as nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy eyes or skin reactions. For some people, this same reaction also affects the lungs and respiratory tract and causes asthma symptoms.
Hives are inflammation of the skin that is triggered when the immune system releases histamine. This causes small blood vessels to leak, so causing swelling in the skin. The swelling that occurs in the deep layers of the skin is called angioedema. There are two types of urticaria, acute and chronic. Acute urticaria occurs after eating a particular food or contact with a particular trigger.
Urticaria can also be triggered by non-allergic causes such as , heat or exercise as well as medications, food, insect bites or infections.
Chronic urticaria is rarely caused by specific triggers, and therefore allergy tests are often of no use. Chronic urticaria can last for months or years. Although chronic urticaria is bothersome and sometimes painful, it is not contagious.
Drug allergy is an abnormal reaction of the immune system to a drug. Any medication – over-the-counter, prescription, or herbal – can cause drug allergy. However, some drugs are more likely to develop drug allergy.
The most common drug allergy signs and symptoms are hives, rash or fever. A drug allergy can cause serious reactions, including anaphylaxis, a condition that is life-threatening, affecting multiple body systems.
Some drugs are more likely to produce allergic reactions than others. The most common are:
- Antibiotics like penicillin
- Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen
- Monoclonal antibody therapy
The likelihood of developing allergies is higher when you take the drug frequently, when it comes in contact with the skin, or when given by injection rather than by mouth.
Fear of an insect sting is more common than fear of an insect developing an allergy in person himself.
Allergy specialists are specialists who can distinguish the difference between an allergic reaction and a normal reaction, thereby reducing anxiety and preventing unnecessary medical costs.
In stinging insect allergy, the allergen is the venom. The most serious reactions are caused by five types of insects:
- The bumblebee is black with a yellow stripe found in various climates. Their nests are usually found underground, but sometimes found on the walls of buildings or cracks in wood.
- Honey bees; have round, fuzzy bodies with dark brown and yellow spots. It can be found in trees, old tires, or honeycombs in other partially protected areas.
- Paper wasps; have black, brown, red and yellow spots and are thin. They live under the eaves, behind the shutters, or in a circular comb in bushes and woody areas.
- Hornets; are black or brown with white, orange or yellow markings. Their nest is gray or brown and are usually found on trees.
- Fire ants; They are reddish brown ants living in more temperate climates and large mounds. They attack with a small warning and sting with high concentration of toxins that cause burning and pain.
If you have a food allergy, the immune system overreacts to a particular protein in the food you eat. Symptoms can occur even when only a small amount of food is contacted.
Many food allergies are first diagnosed in early childhood, but can also occur in older children and adults.
8 foods are responsible for most of the allergic reactions:
- Cow milk
Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)
Eczema is the most common skin condition especially in children. This condition, also called atopic dermatitis, affects one in every five babies, but only one in fifty adults. Eczema is thought to be due to the “leak” of the skin barrier, causing it to dry out and to be prone to burning and irritation by many environmental factors. In addition, some people with eczema have food sensitivity that can make eczema symptoms worse. In about half of patients with severe atopic dermatitis, the disease is caused by the inheritance of a faulty gene called ‘filaggrin’ on the skin. Unlike urticaria (hives), eczema itching is not only caused by histamine, so antihistamines cannot control symptoms. Eczema is often associated with asthma, allergic rhinitis (hay fever), or food allergy. This pattern of progression is called atopic march.
Allergy testing is the best and safest way to tell exactly what triggers symptoms. Common triggers are: dust mites, animal dandruff, molds, pollen, cockroach feces, insect bites, latex and medicines.
- Skin Tests: This is the most common type of test. In this test, a small amount of allergens are put on the skin and this area is pricked or scratched. If there is an allergy, some swelling will occur in the prick test area. The results of this test can usually come out within 15 minutes.
- Intradermal Tests: Intradermal tests are more sensitive than prick tests and can be used when prick test results are inadequate.
- Provocation Tests: Provocation tests are used when a food or drug allergy is suspected. In this test, patients eat or inhale a small amount of possible allergens under the close supervision of an allergist. Provocation tests must be performed by an allergist, as they carry the risk of anaphylaxis.
- Blood Tests: For this test, blood is drawn and tested for allergies. This test is more costly than some other tests. It may take longer to get results than other test applications.
Allergy Treatment (Immunotherapy)
Allergy vaccines are injections that are administered regularly over a period of about three to five years to stop or reduce the allergy attacks. Allergy vaccines are a form of treatment called immunotherapy. Each allergy vaccine contains very few specific substance or substances that trigger allergic reactions. These are called allergens. Allergy vaccines contain enough allergens to stimulate the immune system – but not enough to cause a full-scale allergic reaction. Over time, your doctor will increase the allergen dose in each of your allergy vaccines. This helps the body to get used to allergens. Your immune system develops tolerance to allergens and reduces allergy symptoms over time.