Could allergies be the cause behind your child's sniffles?
How much do you know about children's allergies? Are you sure your child doesn't have allergies? Allergy expert Dr. Kristine Gutierrez recently spoke to TheAsianParent about children’s allergies and how to prevent them. Here are some of her answers to your questions on ParentTown.
(Dr. Gutierrez's answers have edited for clarity and length.)
First of all, what is an allergy?
Allergies are an overreaction of our body to things we commonly see in the environment. They can manifest themselves through skin rashes, teary eyes, a runny nose, trouble breathing, among many other symptoms. A serious, life-threatening allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis.
People who have allergies develop IgE (Immunoglobulin E) antibodies to common things like dust, pets, pollen, and certain foods. There are two kinds of allergens:
- inhalant allergens (e.g. dust mites, pollen)
- food allergens (e.g. eggs, peanuts)
What are the most common food allergens?
In SouthEast Asia, the most common allergens are:
- cow’s milk
- fish and shellfish
But if we're talking on a more global scale, you can add these to the list:
- tree nuts
We shouldn't avoid these foods altogether, however. We can introduce these foods to our child one by one to see if they have an allergic reaction. This would usually manifest itself in 15 to 20 minutes. (For tips on how to safely introduce foods to your child, read this article.)
It's best to go to an allergist, who can administer tests to confirm if your child has or does not have certain allergies.
Read more about allergies in children on the next page.