Tips for parents on how to manage common childhood allergies

 Tips for parents on how to manage common childhood allergies

Dr Prashant Jadhav

Early introduction of various proteins may increase the risk of food allergies in children. Delayed introduction of common allergenic foods, such as cow’s milk, eggs, wheat, and peanuts, until after 10-12 months of age may help reduce the risk of developing these allergies. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life may further contribute to allergy prevention.
Childhood allergies can be broadly categorised into three main types like Food Allergies, Skin Allergies and Respiratory Allergies.

Food Allergies
If there is a family history of allergies, it is advisable to avoid potential allergens during the initial stages of a child’s diet. When introducing new foods, closely monitor for any signs of an allergic reaction. If a reaction occurs, identify the allergen and avoid it. Create a list of the child’s known allergies and carefully review the ingredients of packaged foods before introducing them to the child’s diet. When dining out, inform the restaurant staff of any food allergies to ensure safe meal preparation. This vigilance is especially crucial for children with severe allergies, such as anaphylaxis, as these reactions can be life-threatening.

Skin Allergies
Skin allergies are prevalent in industrial, polluted, or metropolitan areas. To minimise the risk of skin allergies, it’s crucial to avoid contact irritants and maintain skin hydration. Regular moisturising and covering exposed skin can significantly reduce the likelihood of contact dermatitis. Additionally, children with allergic disorders should avoid using cosmetics and perfumes, as these can trigger allergic reactions.

Respiratory Allergies
Managing respiratory allergies requires a combination of proper vaccination, avoidance of irritants, and maintaining a clean living environment. Vaccinations can help protect against respiratory infections that exacerbate allergies. Avoiding irritants such as perfumes, pet dander, smoke, rugs, dust, and dust mites can significantly reduce allergy symptoms. Regular cleaning and maintaining a low-humidity environment can further minimise exposure to allergens and promote overall respiratory health.
If a child experiences an allergic reaction, it’s crucial to assess the severity promptly. The earlier the reaction of childhood allergies manifests, the higher the likelihood of it becoming more severe. Consulting a healthcare provider immediately upon experiencing the first allergic reaction is essential to determine its severity. Severe allergic reactions require treatment under medical supervision. For mild or minor reactions, consult your doctor to receive appropriate guidance and basic medications. Local skin applications and oral medications are typically used for mild allergies. However, severe allergies that necessitate emergency medical attention should be promptly addressed in a hospital setting. Never ignore the severity of an allergic reaction.

Dr Prashant Jadhav is council member, & former VP, College of Physicians & Surgeons of Mumbai

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