Allergies are common in children. If you do not know the symptoms, they can go unnoticed for some time, perhaps until there is a severe reaction which will be distressing to both the child and their parents.

Most allergies can be treated once diagnosed, and in time many children will ‘outgrow’ their allergies and not carry them into adulthood. Here is a quick and simple guide to allergies, the symptoms of a reaction, and what you can do about them.

What Are Allergies?

When someone is suffering an allergic reaction, their body’s immune system is responding to a substance it sees as a threat. This substance, called an allergen, can be anything at all and maybe something completely harmless. The immune system doesn’t see it that way, however, and reacts.

Most allergic reactions are mild to moderate and are uncomfortable but bearable. Children can find an allergic reaction particularly distressing, and this can be distressing for their parents too. 

It can be hard to determine what is causing a reaction without testing. The Children’s Allergy Doctors can perform a simple skin test to help identify what is causing allergic reactions in your child, which allows you to limit their exposure to their allergen. They can also advise you on the best ways to treat a reaction and what to do if symptoms get worse.

grayscale photo of boy covering of eye while standing behind concrete wall

What Are The Symptoms Of A Reaction?

When the immune system reacts to an allergen it releases histamines in the body as a self-defence mechanism. These histamines play an important role in the body, helping rid it of contaminants. If you eat something your body does not like, for example, histamines will be released and make you feel unwell to try and expel the contaminant from your digestive system.

These histamines cause the common symptoms we associate with an allergic reaction. These include skin rashes such as eczema, or blistering, red and itchy eyes, runny or blocked noses, and can even trigger an asthma attack

Severe allergic reactions can cause children to have difficulty swallowing or breathing and have a faster heartbeat than normal. These symptoms should be treated by a medical professional, as severe allergic reactions can be life-threatening.

What Are The Treatments For A Reaction?

The most common and widely available treatment for an allergic reaction is antihistamines. These come in many forms, and most can be purchased without a prescription at supermarkets and chemists. For children, liquid syrup antihistamines are recommended as children find these easier to take and they are fast acting. 

Severe reactions may be treated with adrenaline by a doctor or nurse or from an auto-injector pen. These pens, often called Epi-pens, are prescribed to people who are at risk of severe reactions to allergens, and they carry them with them in case of an attack. 

With an allergen diagnosis, there are a lot of parents can do to prevent an allergic reaction, such as to attempt to allergy proof your home, and they can make sure they have treatments at hand in case their child suffers one. Make sure you know the symptoms of an allergic reaction in your child so you can get it diagnosed and ease their discomfort.