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4 Most Common Allergies in Children

4 Most Common Allergies in Children

As the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States, allergies affect millions of Americans each year. The problem is especially prevalent among kids. Whether it’s in the form of seasonal respiratory allergies, eczema-inducing contact allergies, or ingested food allergies, over one in four children in the United States has at least one diagnosed allergic condition.

At Pediatric Practitioners of Oklahoma in Claremore, Oklahoma, our skilled team offers a full scope of allergy services for kids of all ages. From expert diagnosis to effective treatment solutions, we can help your child gain optimal control over their allergies. 

Here, we discuss the mechanisms of an allergic reaction and explore the four most common childhood allergies. 

A short tutorial on allergies 

Normally harmless substances, such as tree pollen, airborne mold spores, dust mites, animal dander, milk, eggs, and peanuts, become allergens when the immune system perceives them as harmful. An allergen can be something that’s:

When the immune system encounters a normally harmless substance that it has deemed as hazardous, it spirals into an overreaction that prompts the release of excessive amounts of antibodies, histamines, and other defensive chemicals. This is known as an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction can cause:

In severe cases, an allergic reaction can cause breathing difficulty, an asthma attack, low blood pressure, or anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening emergency.

Common childhood allergies 

While people of all ages — including older adults — can develop allergies, early childhood is a prime time for allergy onset. Allergies tend to change as kids grow and change, often becoming milder over time. Although some kids may even “outgrow” certain allergies, most are chronic, meaning they persist for life.

The four most common childhood allergies are:

1. Allergic rhinitis 

Allergic rhinitis is the most common childhood ailment caused by allergies. Nearly one in five children (18.9%) in the United States have been diagnosed with the condition. Also known as seasonal allergies or hay fever, this allergic reaction to the airborne pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds tends to occur more frequently in the spring and fall, when pollen concentrations are highest. 

Allergic rhinitis usually causes nasal cavity symptoms, such as a runny, itchy nose, sneezing, postnasal drip, and nasal congestion. It can also give rise to red, watery eyes that itch as well as inner ear fluid accumulation and inflammation and chronic ear infections.

2. Eczema 

More than one in 10 American children (10.8%) have been diagnosed with eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis. The meanings of the terms used to describe the condition are revealing:

With this allergic condition, contact with an irritant or allergen causes itchy, bumpy rashes and thickened skin that may emerge anywhere. Irritants that can trigger an eczema flare-up include sweat, dry air, intense sunlight, harsh detergents, chlorine, and itchy fabrics like wool.

Eczema flare-ups may also occur if your child’s skin touches something they’re allergic to. These eczema rashes can often be traced to one problematic ingredient in a skin or hair care product. Dyes, fragrances, and preservatives are often the culprit. 

3. Food allergies

About four million American children (5.8%) have a diagnosed food allergy. Eggs, milk, and peanuts are the most frequently diagnosed childhood food allergies. Wheat, soy, and tree nut allergies are also common.

Food allergies can cause symptoms that range in severity from uncomfortable to life-threatening. An allergic reaction to food may trigger itching in the mouth and throat, breathing difficulties or an asthma attack, hives, stomach pains, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.

The most severe allergic reaction — anaphylaxis — is most often associated with peanuts and tree nuts.

4. Airborne allergies

Pollen isn’t the only potential airborne allergen. There are several substances that can trigger an allergic reaction after they’re breathed in. Common airborne allergens — also known as aeroallergens — include dust mites, fungal and mold spores, animal dander, dried insect debris, cigarette smoke, car exhaust, and perfume.

Most airborne allergens are an “indoor problem,” meaning they affect the air quality of indoor living environments and require attentive cleaning practices to manage and control.

Effective allergy management 

Once an allergy has been diagnosed, our team can create an individualized treatment plan that helps your child avoid or limit their exposure to known allergens, provides medication to ease symptoms during an allergy attack, and offers a detailed plan of action in the event of a severe allergic reaction.

If you have questions about effective allergy management, we can help. To learn more, call 918-283-4660 or book an appointment online with Pediatric Practitioners of Oklahoma today.

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