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Allergic disorders

What are allergic disorders?

An allergy is an abnormal immune system reaction to things called allergens that are normally harmless to most people. It is hypersensitivity to certain substances or irritants. Allergies occur when the child is exposed to an allergen, their immune system then mistakenly believes that it’s harming their body. It then overreacts, treating the substance as an invader, then tries to fight it off. The immune system produces antibodies called immunoglobulin to help protect the body, which then causes certain cells in the body to release chemicals into the bloodstream to help defend against the invader/allergen. There are different types of allergic disorders may, including:

Gold Star Asthma
This is a lung disease that occurs when the lungs and airways are inflamed when the child has a cold or are around certain allergens. Asthma symptoms may make it hard for your child to do everyday activities and sleep. Asthma symptoms differ from child to child and may include rapid breathing, shortness of breath, chest tightness or pain, trouble eating or grunting while eating (in infants), and trouble sleeping due to coughing or breathing problems. In some cases, an asthma attack may result in a trip to the hospital.

Gold Star Allergic rhinitis
Rhinitis is a reaction that occurs in the eyes, nose, and throat; it occurs due to allergens in the air triggering the release of histamine in the body. Histamine then causes itching, swelling, and fluid to build up in the fragile linings of nasal passages, sinuses, and eyelids. Allergic rhinitis occurs on a seasonal basis or year-round. Year-round allergic rhinitis commonly occurs in younger children. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing, nosebleeds, clear drainage from the nose and itchy nose, throat, eyes and ears.

Gold Star Atopic dermatitis
This is a chronic skin condition that causes dry, itchy skin. It’s a very common condition in babies and children and normally first appears between ages 3 and 6 months. The exact cause of atopic dermatitis is unknown, but there are factors that may increase the risk of developing dermatitis, including genes, an immune system that isn’t fully developed and external factors like bathing with soap. Using hot water and being in dry, hot temperatures may also contribute to the development of atopic dermatitis.

Gold Star Food allergies
This is when the child’s body has a bad immune reaction to certain foods. The reason why this occurs isn’t clear. The child’s immune system will send out immunoglobulin E antibodies, which will react to the food and cause the release of histamines and other chemicals. These chemicals may then cause hives, asthma, itching in the mouth, trouble breathing, stomach pains, vomiting, or diarrhoea. It doesn't take much of the food to cause a severe reaction in highly allergic children.

How are allergic disorders treated?

Allergic disorders treatment depends entirely on your child’s symptoms, general health, age, and the severity of the condition. Treatment may include nasal sprays, medicines for asthma, decongestants, immunotherapy (allergy shots) and antihistamines. Dr Nsele will prescribe a suitable treatment plan.

FAQ

What should I do if my child has a food allergy?

If you suspect that your child has a food allergy, seek medical attention from your paediatrician. For children that have an allergy to cow's milk or soy, the paediatrician may prescribe special formula. Food restrictions will be advised and supervised by the paediatrician, who may also refer you to a dietitian.

Should my child avoid pets?

There is no need to avoid pets unless your child is allergic to them and develops symptoms when he/she is exposed to them.

Can immunotherapy/allergy shots prevent an allergy?

The main goal of allergen immunotherapy is to treat established environmental allergies.

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When should my child see a Paediatrician

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Visits with your paediatrician should begin as soon as your child is born. This allows you to become familiar with your child’s doctor, and also allows your child’s health to be monitored from an early age.

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