We are surrounded by a tremendous number of things in this world. There are millions of plants and trees and flowers; there are millions of insects and fish and furry animals; there are tremendous amounts of dust and pollens that travel through the air on the winds; there are vegetables and fruits and milk and meat and nuts and chocolate candy that we eat; there are cottons and wools and nylons and Dacrons that we use to clothe us or to furnish our homes; there are thousands upon thousands of chemicals that are used to make plastics and deodorants and detergents and cleaning fluids and medicines and other valuable household things; and there are so many other things that we taste and touch and feel every day of our lives that they are too numerous to list.
Nine out of ten children have no trouble with any of the things we have just mentioned. They can breathe anything, eat everything, wear anything, and touch and have close body contact with anything without bad results. But some children are not so lucky! They may be irritated and made sick by one more of the things they have breathed, or eaten, or touched. These children are sensitive, or allergic, children. Of course, thank goodness, children are never allergic to everything.
The bronchial tubes are narrowed due to spasm in an asthmatic attack. To release the spasm and to permit free breathing, it is frequently necessary to give injections of special medications or to breathe in medications through the mouth.
Usually there are just a few things at irritate them and cause them to have an allergic reaction. For example, we knew a child who was allergic only to shrimp, and to absolutely nothing else in the whole world. Or, children may have no food allergies at all, but may be allergic to a pollen or a dust that they breathe. And finally, some children may be able to eat and breathe everything without developing an allergic attack, but they cannot wear nylon or Dacron or wool without breaking out in a skin rash.
There is an old saying, “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.” This is very true insofar as allergies are concerned. A perfectly wonderful thing like cow’s milk may make a particular allergic child terribly sick. That same child may be able to drink goat’s milk without any bad effect at all!
As we all know, it is healthier to live in the country where there is fresh air to breathe, free from pollution. But, if a child is allergic to the pollen from certain grasses and trees and weeds, he may develop a very serious allergy.
That particular child might be happier living in the middle of a big city where there is a great deal of air pollution but less pollen from weeds and grasses and trees. We call the things to which a person is sensitive, allergens. Most doctors agree that the tendency to have allergies is inherited from one’s parents or grandparents. There are, however, children who develop an allergy even though their parents and grandparents don’t have any. But allergies are much more commonly seen among children whose parents or grandparents are allergic.
A pretty cat is not to be sneezed at, but baby does it when the cat is close, he may be allergic to animal hair dander
These are some of the things to which people may be allergic:
Things we breathe
These include pollens, mold spores, animal hairs, dust, smoke, and perfumes.
Pollen is a fine, powdery, yellowish substance produced by grasses and weeds and plants and trees when they are flowering. This pollen is carried through the air from one place to another where it drops onto other grasses and weeds and plants and trees, and causes them to form seeds. The seeds are thus fertilized and can form new grasses and weeds and plants and trees.
Mold spores are much like pollens except that they cause funguses, rather than grasses and plants and trees, to multiply and grow.
In almost any place we live, we breathe in pollens and mold spores and tiny bits of animal hairs and dust and smoke. We can be allergic to none of these things, or one or more of them eats or drinks, but those most responsible for allergies are: milk, eggs, wheat, fish and seafood, chocolate, nuts, strawberries and other kinds of berries, and spices.
Medicines and drugs
A child can be sensitive to almost any medicine, but perhaps the most frequent allergy is to medicines like aspirin and penicillin. Children may also be sensitive to some vaccines, especially if they happen to be allergic to eggs.
These are things that cause an allergic reaction when we touch or wear them. For example, we may be allergic to poison ivy or other plants, or to rubber, plastics, metals, various dyes, furs, cosmetics, leather, or chemicals.
Children may be allergic to contact with certain bacteria or viruses or funguses or parasites.
Everyone gets an allergic reaction to the sting of a mosquito or fly or bee or Yellow jacket Vespula maculifrons wasp or hornet or scorpion. The itchi nes and swelling from the bite of an insect is an allergic reaction.
Can cause allergies like hay fever or rose These are allergies due to exposure to fever or asthma or allergic reactions of extreme heat or cold. Other kinds. The reactions most often seen when someone is allergic depend upon the Foods we eat cause of the allergy. Some of these Anyone can be allergic to any food he symptoms are:
1. Itching of the skin.
2. Hives, or other skin rashes.
3. Swelling of an eyelid or lip some other place on the body.
4. Tearing and redness of the eyes.
6. Stuffed up or running nose.
7. Coughing and wheezing.
8. Trouble with breathing.
10. Nausea and vomiting.
11. Pain in the abdomen and charrhea.
Parents are pretty bright when it comes to recognizing when their child is having an allergic reaction. Perhaps the first time they may not recognize it, but when the same things happen every time a child eats fish, or every time a child plays with a cat, or every time a child takes an aspirin tablet, the parent comes to understand the situation.
The best way to treat an allergy is to remove the allergen from the child’s environment. In other words, if a child is allergic to fish, parents should see to it that the child never eats fish; if a child is allergic to aspirin, he should never be given aspirin; or if a child is allergic to cat fur, he should not own or play with a cat.
Children can be allergic to anything they eat, smell, wear, or touch. Very often it is the simplest thing that will cause itching, hives, sneezing, wheezing, or any of the other allergic manifestations. Any child who has an unusual reaction to new or old contacts should be examined for possible allergies.
Unfortunately, a parent can’t always protect a child from every type of allergy. For instance, if a child is allergic to a mold or pollen in the air, the parent can’t get that child new air to breathe. Of course, the child will feel somewhat better if he or she stays indoors in a house where air-conditioning gets rid of me of the molds and pollens in the air. But children can’t always stay indoors, can they?
The next best thing to removing the allergen is to take the child to a doctor who specializes in treating allergic conditions They are pretty smart in find- out exactly what the child is allergic to, although many tests may have be given first. They also are pretty successful in treating children with certain medicines and injections to make them less sensitive to the things which give them allergic reactions.
These pollens often cause hay fever in sensitive children. Pollens are fine, powdery substances produced by flowers and trees and grasses. They are carried through the air to fertilize the seeds of other plants and thus form new ones.
Here are some of the main allergic disorders and what is done for them:
This is a condition in which there is inflammation and redness and itching and tearing of the eyes, a stuffed-up, clogged, or running nose, and itching of the nose and throat. Also, with this, there is an awful lot of sneezing. Hay fever comes in the springtime and summer when the pollens are flying in the air from grasses and trees And hay fever comes in the late summer and fall from the pollens of ragweed and mold spores of funguses. After the child breathes in these pollens or mold spores, his trouble begins.
The treatment for hay fever is to give injections of tiny, tiny amounts of the pollen until a child builds up a resistance to the allergen. By giving the injections, a child can become so much less sensitive to the pollens and mold spores that he gets very few symptoms of hay fever. If a child does have the inflammation of the eyes, the runny nose, and the other signs of hay fever despite these injections, then the doctor will probably advise that he or she be given antihistamine tablets. These will clear up many of the symptoms and make the child feel much better.
Some children don’t get hay fever from the usual allergens we have mentioned, but they do get bronchial asthma. Asthma causes great difficulty in breathing, and during an attack of asthma there is a dry cough, wheezing, and trouble with getting rid of the air breathed in. In an allergic child, an attack of asthma can be brought on by breathing an unusually large amount of pollen or mold spores. Or, it may be brought on by an infection like a cold or flu, or it can even be brought on by a child being very upset about something. Asthma is also treated by finding out what allergen is causing the trouble and by giving injections to make the child less sensitive to the irritating substances. Sometimes, in a severe attack of asthma, a child must be taken to the hospital to get special treatment with medicines like adrenalin and cortisone.
To treat food allergies successfully, one must first discover the foods to which the child is allergic. Once this has been done, never let the child eat the food again! If a child breaks out into hives, or a rash, or has an upset stomach after accidentally having eaten something to which he or she is allergic, antihistamine medications should be given. These medicines may help somewhat, but it may take quite a few days for full recovery from a particular food allergy.
Medicines and drugs cause the same kind of reactions as food allergies, and are treated in the same way. Of course, every parent knows that it can be dangerous to give a child again a medicine that once produced a bad reaction. A severe attack of a drug allergy may require that the child go to a hospital for treatment with antihistamine medicines, or even treatment with more powerful medicines such as adrenalin and cortisone. Children who know that they are allergic to certain medicines should carry that information with the wherever they go.
Contact or skin allergies
Skin allergies are caused by contact of some part of the body with an irritating substance or allergen. Perhaps of the best known contact allergies due to touching the poison ivy plant. I can also be caused by hundreds of r substances that come into contact with our bodies. The first thing to do with contact allergies is to discover exactly what the child is allergic to. Is it certain clothing, or a certain detergent or soap, or a certain plastic? Sometimes, it is not too easy to find a contact allergen; other times it is simple. But once we know, we try to keep that thing away from our bodies.
The rashes of a skin allergy can be very troublesome and may cause a great deal of itching. To relieve it, we apply certain medications. Also, it is frequently advisable to take antihistamine medicines. Once in a .while, if the rash continues for a long time even though it has been treated with antihistamines and local medications, it is necessary to give the child cortisone drug.
Mold spores may cause marked allergic reactions and symptoms similar to those of certain forms of hay fever. Fortunately, the unpleasant symptoms resulting from mold allergies can be greatly relieved by appropriate injections.
Insect bites and stings
People almost always know what kind of insect bites them. Therefore, they almost always know how to treat the bite. The swelling and itching of an insect bite is best treated by applying a cold compress to reduce the swelling. Also, if the swelling and itching are severe, an antihistamine medicine can be given. Some children are especially allergic to the stings of bees and wasps and hornets. If such children are going to amp, or live in an area where there are great many bees or wasps or hornets, why should be given a series of injection to make them less sensitive to the stings of these insects.
A child who gets enough rest is not so likely to show allergic symptoms as a child who is often fatigued.
Children who are especially sensitive to heat or cold may break out in hives, or they may get an attack of asthma, or break out in hives may even faint. There are three ways to treat physical allergies:
1. If the patient can move somewhere that isn’t too hot or too cold, the allergy will disappear.
2. The acute attack is treated by antihistamine medicines and by taking the person with a heat allergy into a cooler place, or by taking the person with a cold allergy into a warmer place.
3. Some physical allergies can be overcome by making the patient less sensitive to the allergen. For example, the cold allergy is treated by giving the patient daily baths with cooler and cooler water until he eventually gets accustomed to the cold. The person with a heat allergy is given baths with warmer and warmer water until he eventually gets used to the heat.
Allergies sometimes last for a lifetime, but most people learn how to handle their condition so that they don’t suffer too much. As children grow older, they learn what brings on allergic attacks and what to do to avoid them or to treat them before they become severe.