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The most prevalent signs and symptoms of allergies to look out for in your kids.

Allergy Medical
Thanks to our brand partner, Allergy Medical

Before becoming a mother 12 years ago I thought I knew what allergies were, what they looked like and even how some of them felt. But becoming a parent will highlight exactly how much you don’t know.

At a basic level, an allergy is a damaging immune response by the body to a particular substance that is normally harmless to most people.

And it’s something that each of my three kids suffer from.

It’s a situation I found surprising considering allergies were rare in my family, however I was shocked to learn that Australia and New Zealand are known to have the highest prevalence of these disorders in the developed world.

With that in mind it’s important that all of us parents keep in mind the signs and symptoms that could indicate our kids might be suffering from something more serious.

These are the most prevalent ones that might suggest your child has an allergy that requires professional treatment.

Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis).

Contrary to all of the advertisements on television, hay fever isn’t just about all the pollen blowing about in the springtime. Allergens like dust, insects, grass, animal hair and mould can also trigger hay fever symptoms.

Look out for red, itchy eyes, snoring and excessive mouth breathing.

Anyone who suffers from hay fever symptoms knows it can greatly affect your quality of life. When your eyes and nose are watery and itchy, it can be impossible to concentrate and sleep, which makes those long days at school difficult for kids.

Once you identify what they are allergic to, then you can organise proper treatment dependent on on the allergen and it’s severity.

And a not so fun fact for pet loving families, contrary to popular belief there are actually no truly “hypoallergenic breeds” of dogs or cats.

allergy symptoms
“Once you identify what they are allergic to, then you can organise proper treatment dependant on on the allergen and it’s severity.” Image via iStock.
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Allergic Conjunctivitis.

Conjunctivitis is when the conjunctivas, which helps lubricates and protect your eyes from irritants, become inflamed causing redness, itching and swelling.

Not to be confused with hay fever symptoms, allergic conjunctivitis comes with weeping eyes and sometimes even more serious discharge like yellow pus, which often fuses the eyes together overnight and require bathing with warm water to open come morning.

Allergy can be a major cause of conjunctivitis with numerous triggers like dust mites, pollens, contact with animals, mould spores, eye drops, contact lenses, chlorinated pool water, soaps and detergents.

Asthma.

Approximately 80 per cent of people suffering from asthma also have an allergy, with these allergies playing a significant part in triggering and aggravating asthma attacks. So if your child has asthma – the narrowing of airways obstructing airflow to and from the lungs – it’s well worth considering what’s causing it.

When it comes to early symptoms of asthma, keep an eye and ear out for snoring, exaggerated breathing, persistent coughing, fatigue and wheezing. The allergens triggering these symptoms could be the usual suspects like dust mites, pollen and animals but might also be exacerbated by things like smoke, solvents and fumes as well as cold air and exercise.

allergy symptoms
“Approximately 80 per cent of people suffering from asthma also have an allergy.” Image via iStock.
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Anaphylaxis.

Food and insect sting allergies are the most prevalent causes of anaphylaxis, which is a severe and potentially fatal allergic reaction. However triggers can also include medications and latex – yep, balloons.

Symptoms include rashes, abdominal cramps, vomiting, coughing, difficulty swallowing or speaking, swelling of the throat and mouth, and sudden collapse. In the event of any of these symptoms you need to call emergency services immediately and administer an EpiPen.

Hives (Urticaria).

Hives look like raised, red mozzie bites surrounded by whitened, swelled skin and cause extreme discomfort such as tingling and itchiness. They can also be a sign of a more serious allergic reaction.

Although most cases of hives are not allergy related, frequent and severe cases could be caused by allergies to certain foods, insect bites, plants, animals, medications, as well as infections and autoimmunity issues. Hives can also be caused by food intolerance and sensitivity.

allergy symptoms
“Hives look like raised, red mozzie bites surrounded by whitened, swelled skin and cause extreme discomfort such as tingling and itchiness.” Image via iStock.

Angioedema.

This is a condition where small blood vessels leak fluid into the tissues, causing swelling and in some cases difficulty breathing. Angioedema can last for days. Allergies to food or drugs can cause hives and angioedema simultaneously, so if your child presents with hives, look out for this more serious condition.

Angioedema normally shows up around the face, lips, tongue, throat and genital areas but can occur anywhere on the body, even affecting internal organs such as the oesophagus or stomach so look out for swelling coupled with tummy pains and seek immediate treatment.

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Angioedema is serious if it causes swelling of the lips, throat, tongue and obstructs breathing. These symptoms should be treated as a medical emergency – you should call emergency services immediately and administer an EpiPen.

Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis).

I had never heard of nor seen eczema before my five-month-old baby became covered in crusty skin and sores that eventually became infected.

Look out for redness on the skin, itchiness, oozing, rough or thickened skin around the elbows, wrists, neck, ankles and behind the knees. It can be caused or exacerbated by allergens such as  detergents, wool, perfumes, heat and chlorine, as well as food intolerances, sensitivities and additives.

allergy symptoms
“I had never heard of nor seen eczema before my five-month-old baby became covered in crusty skin and sores that eventually became infected.” Image via iStock.

Contact Dermatitis.

Contact dermatitis is when the skin becomes inflamed from direct contact of a substance with the surface of the skin.  Look out for bumps, burn-like rashes, blisters or weeping rashes as signs your kids might be suffering. The most common causes are solvents, chemicals, nickel, perfumes, dyes, latex, topical medications and cosmetics.

Talk to a medical professional about what kind of allergy these various signs and symptoms could indicate as well as effective treatment to make sure your kids can live a happy and healthy life.

How do you manage your kids’ allergies?

Here are some of the most common childhood allergies: