How to know if my child has an allergy to something

Allergy is one of the health appendices that most concerns adults who have children. There is a lot of misinformation about it for different reasons: that it is a matter on whose final cause there is no clear scientific consensus yet; that there is a history in the family and it is known that the hereditary component influences its appearance in later generations ; and also the new discoveries that leave obsolete previous knowledge that nevertheless remains in force on the street, are some of them. And to all these and some other factors that we have not mentioned, we must add to the equation at least two others that add a huge dose of uncertainty: the difficulty to detect them due to their diversity of and possible origins.

It is known that, as the pediatrician Lucía Galán Bertran explains in her well-known blog -on the networks like ‘Lucía, my pediatrician’- “ children are not born allergic . Those of hypersensitivity or allergies develop over the years, sometimes they add allergies ”. But detecting them is not always easy because they can present with very different symptoms, both in shape and in severity and intensity. In fact, sometimes it is obvious that a child suffers from an allergy, but it can be difficult to find the cause because the stimuli are also very varied, which for the vast majority of the population are innocuous and which, however, can produce a pathological reaction of the system immune system in some people.

Food allergies

From the outset, it is convenient to differentiate allergies between food allergies and those that are not, because the protocol in young children, from the six months in which it is introduced, is clear. We have already spoken on other occasions about the health recommendations in this regard, reflected in institutions such as the Spanish Association of Pediatrics, which speak of “one by one and at intervals of several days to observe tolerance and acceptance”.

The symptoms in which it derives are of diverse nature, since they can according to the can appear “problems in the skin -, reddish lesions that cause itching, or swelling-; breathing -sneezing, wheezing or throat tightness-; stomach -, vomiting or diarrhea-; or circulatory paleness, dizziness and even loss of consciousness- ”. However, if you are responsible with medical recommendations when introducing new foods and with a control of the reactions of the child’s body to them, food allergies are much easier to detect for parents, who can consult the doctor and even give you an excellent clue as to what it may be due to based on what you observed.

Other allergies

On the other hand, it is not so simple with allergies to non-food stimuli, which in many cases appear suddenly and unexpectedly, because they do not always have to appear the first time the child is exposed to said stimulus, be it protein from the dander of some animals -dog, cat, horse, etc.-; Mites; medicines; mold; pollen from herbs, plants and trees; or other specific products such as latex that can also cause allergies in humans.

Some of these allergies, such as del, are seasonal, and others permanent, something that can be a first clue to detect them, especially in the case of the former, which usually appear in spring. Regarding the symptoms, in the generalized opinion of the medical community and personalized in the mouth of the, “ Some allergies are easy to identify by the pattern of symptoms that comes after exposure to a particular substance. But others are subtle and can be masqueraded as other conditions. ” In the aforementioned article it is explained that the symptoms are very similar to those of a cold – runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy eyes, watery eyes or throat clearing among others – but that, unlike usual in this type of diseases, it is prolonged in time and even chronically.

In addition, as in food allergies, symptoms can also appear on the skin and in the respiratory system, as is the case with asthma. This disease is another reliable clue in the detection of allergies because as Dr. Galán Bertrand points out, “ not all people with allergies suffer from it , but most people with asthma suffer from allergies”.

The decisive evidence

As you can imagine, except for very specific examples -exposure of a child to horses in a stable for the first time in his life hours before a reaction compatible with allergy-, it will not be so easy for parents to associate the symptoms with an allergy, but it will be more than enough to go to the doctor, who in all probability will refer the child to the allergist if he sees signs of allergy. This will do the tests it deems appropriate to diagnose or rule out if the patient suffers from allergies , but “a good medical history is essential for its correct diagnosis. One cannot go to the allergist’s office to have allergy tests done to everything, ”warns pediatrician Lucía Galán.

Therefore, it is essential that parents understand the importance of keeping track and remembering in case an allergy-compatible disorder of the immune system has been triggered because otherwise, without having clues – what has eaten or where has been in the previous hours, for example- or clinical history -for example, that he is diagnosed with asthma-, finding the stimulus that could have caused this reaction in the child can be really complicated, even impossible, and then we would have to wait for it happens again, with the consequent disruption that this entails for the child’s health.

The tests, by the way, can be done at any age, although their results do not guarantee that the allergy will not appear in the future. This is not a fixed pathology, as the results of the tests are, or that it is triggered in a specific age group, so it can never be ruled out that a child suffers from it throughout his life.

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