In the last decade the number of people with allergies has increased significantly. Children have been most affected, an estimated 30 percent of them are allergic. There are more and more cases of childhood allergies and they last longer.
Although allergies have a hereditary component, they are also associated with environmental factors (known as “hygienic theory”), the abandonment of breastfeeding before six months, since it acts as a protective shield, and the early introduction food. We will then review the most common allergies in children.
What is an allergy?
An allergy is a disproportionate reaction of the immune system to a given agent, called an allergen, which can be a substance, a food, pollen, mites, insects, etc. For the body are invaders, therefore it reacts causing certain symptoms, from itching or hives to more serious problems such as a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction.
Allergies can not be prevented, although there are certain measures that can prevent them. When a person develops an allergy, it will accompany him for some time, sometimes for several years or a lifetime. In children there are allergies that improve and even disappear when they grow up.
Most common childhood allergies
Food allergies are the first that can appear in the baby when the complementary feeding is introduced, from the six months of life.
Among food allergies, cow’s milk is the number one cause of allergy in children. Specifically, it is produced by an allergy to the proteins of cow’s milk, which is different from the picture of milk intolerance. Cow milk and its derivatives are followed, in order, by allergy to eggs and fish.
Peanuts, peanut butter, soybeans and wheat can also cause allergies, and less often, chocolate, strawberries, tomatoes, or seafood. That is why it is recommended to delay the introduction of these foods past the first year of life, and even more so in the case of nuts, also by the risk of choking.
When introducing new foods in children, always do so after six months and preferably offered when the baby still breastfeeding could reduce allergies. With each new food you introduce, make it one and stay alert to the symptoms that may make us suspect a food allergy.
Also among the most common childhood allergies are atopic dermatitis, which in some cases is related to a food allergy.
It is an inflammatory skin disease that affects 18% of the child population in Spain. It is characterized by a rash of the skin when exposed to irritating factors such as plants, pollen, industrial chemical solvents, detergents, tobacco smoke, bleaching paints, wool, acidic and / or astringent foods, skin care products containing alcohol and some soaps and perfumes.
It is common for children with atopic dermatitis to develop other diseases, especially allergies, rhinitis or asthma, so early detection is very important.
Between the first year and five years, it is common for asthma episodes to appear in the child, although it is not an allergy per se, but accompanies catarrhal processes or flu, and may be a sign of a child’s predisposition to develop allergy .
Allergic rhinitis, characterized by inflammation of the nasal mucosa, is a very frequent picture in the child population, especially in younger children. The allergens responsible can be very varied, they can be typical of certain times of the year, such as allergy to pollen (“hay fever”), or be present all year round like mites or pet hair.
We can not forget to mention among the most common allergies among children, allergy to insect bites and medications.
The truth is that allergies are becoming more frequent among the smallest, being the ones we have named the most common. The prevention of allergies, within what is in our hands, consists of a combination of measures that we must take in regards to cleaning at home, clothes used by the baby and of course, the mother’s feeding during pregnancy .