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  • Under 5-year-old children suffer mostly Food Allergy: Doctors at Columbia Asia Hospital, Ghaziabad call for greater awareness

    Published on May 13, 2019

    Ghaziabad : Allergic diseases in children such as food allergies, allergic asthma, eczema among others have witnessed a spurt in recent years, with incidence up by up to 35 percent. Doctors at Columbia Asia Hospital Ghaziabad advocate the need for greater awareness and education for parents to deal with rising instances of child allergies.

    Allergies in children are caused by a complicated interplay of genetic and environmental factors. Children are more likely to develop allergies if one or both parents have allergies. It is not a static disease and as the child matures the pattern of the disease changes.

    “Some children have an atopic allergy. Around 10-20 percent of the Indian population is atopic. That means they have an increased tendency of catching an allergy. It’s genetic. There are also environmental factors. Pollen from seeds, grass, crops and leaves causes seasonal allergy. There are certain allergies that stay throughout the year which causes from insects inside the house like cockroach, dust mite. You have a pet like dog or cat, you can get allergy from that. These are the certain allergens that are present throughout the year. Another type is food allergy like egg, fish and cow milk. Mostly kids suffer from food allergy. On an average we get almost 1200 cases of food allergy in a year,” says Dr. Sumit Kumar Gupta, Consultant Paediatrician, Columbia Asia Hospital, Ghaziabad.

    Pollen, insect bites, pet dander, dust mites, smoke and sometimes certain food items are responsible for allergy triggers in children. Since children have narrower bronchi and bronchioles, these triggers can cause serious consequences if the kid has allergic rhinitis. Skin rash, dermatitis, sneezing, breathing difficulty, coughing and itchy eyes are some manifestations of allergic reactions.

    “We have pollen, dust and smoke in our environment. Inside the house, we have dust mites, molds, cockroaches which act as a trigger to allergy in children. Infants are more likely to present with atopic eczema, food allergy, gastrointestinal symptoms and wheezing,” says Dr. Sumit Kumar Gupta, Consultant Pediatrician, Columbia Asia Hospital, Ghaziabad.

     Basically, allergy is a reaction of a child’s immune system to a perceived foreign threat. And, the immune system of a child responds to the allergy by releasing histamine and other chemicals that trigger irritation in the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, eyes, skin, or stomach lining. In some children, allergies can also trigger symptoms of asthma.

    Allergies may be seasonal or can strike year-round. Parents have to play an important role in preventing the triggers. If your child has seasonal allergies, parents need to keep the child inside when the levels are high especially in spring and summer. The child should also be protected when the house is being cleaned and the usage of vacuum cleaner is advisable in such scenario.

    “Avoiding allergens will help prevent symptoms. Allergies that a child has to the family pet can be controlled by removing the animal and finding it a new home. Exposure to allergens outside the home can be controlled with the use of air conditioners. Washing the hair, taking a bath or shower before bedtime can be done to remove allergens that have been picked up from outside the home. In case of food allergies, it is important to read the list of ingredients on any packaged food item. Even traces of nuts in allergic children can cause serious reactions,” the doctor added.

    Allergies are treatable but not curable. But a timely detection of allergy trigger can help in identifying whether the child has environmental, food or atopic allergy.  It can be done by noting the presence of signs and symptoms and history of exposure by the clinicians. When diagnosed the symptoms may be controlled by avoiding the allergen and by using anti allergic medicines. However, if a child’s symptoms are persistent and not relieved by OTC medicines then he/she should be taken to the hospital.


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