Fifty percent of children in the UK have allergies. For parents, it is a learning curve in understanding what to avoid and how to control and manage the allergy. Find out as much as you can. There are many types of allergies.
An allergy is when the body has a reaction to a protein such as foods, insect stings, pollens, house dust mites or other substances such as antibiotics. There are many common allergies. Some families seem to include more individuals with allergies than other families. Children born into families where allergies already exist have a higher than average chance of developing allergies themselves.
Allergic symptoms can affect the nose, throat, ears, eyes, airways, digestion and skin in mild, moderate or severe form. When a child first shows signs of an allergy, it is not always clear what has caused the symptoms, or even if they have had an allergic reaction, since some allergic symptoms can be similar to other common childhood illnesses. Urticaria (wheals or hives) can be one of the first symptoms of an allergic reaction. If the reaction is severe, or if the symptoms continue to re-occur, it is important that you contact your GP.
This example shows areas where allergy sufferers may experience symptoms. Many of these symptoms can develop as a result of other common childhood illnesses. With an allergy, symptoms often appear more quickly or suddenly.
Itchy eyes, watery eyes, prickly eyes, swollen eyes, ‘allergic shiners’ - dark areas under the eyes due to blocked sinuses.
Antihistamines are probably the best known type of allergy medication, and most are readily available from a pharmacy without prescription. While antihistamines used to have a reputation for making people drowsy, more modern antihistamines only occasionally have those side effects. Check the packet for details.
Nose, throat and ears
Runny nose, blocked nose, itchy nose, sneezing, pain in sinuses, headaches, post-nasal drip (mucus drips down the throat from behind the nose), loss of sense of smell and taste, sore throat, swollen larynx (voice box), itchy mouth and/or throat, blocked ear and glue ear.
Wheezy breathing, difficulty in breathing, coughing (especially at night time), shortness of breath.
Urticaria - Wheals or hives, bumpy, itchy raised areas, rashes.
Eczema - Cracked, dry or weepy, broken skin.
Swollen lips/tongue, stomach ache, feeling sick, vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea, bleeding from the bottom, reflux, poor growth.
Source: Allergy UK/2014