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Allergies

What is an allergic reaction


Currently, many children suffer from some type of allergy and its incidence is increasing year after year. In a mild way, the manifestations of allergy in children almost always appear in the same way: through sneezing congestion of the nose and eyes, or skin reactions.

When the child is having an allergic reaction, his body has an exaggerated response to being exposed to certain substances called allergens, which can be present in chemical substances of certain materials, in the environment, in food or in medicines.

An allergic reaction can be caused by ingestion, contact, inhalation, or injection of the allergen. If the child is exposed for the first time to substances such as mites, pollen, food, latex or insect bites 'mistakenly' that this element is harmful and, as such, generates specific antibodies that produce sensitization towards that substance .

When contact with this substance considered harmful is repeated, the immune system reacts dramatically in an attempt to protect the body from the alleged aggressor (allergen), and produces antibodies against it. At the same time, these antibodies cause certain cells in the body to activate and release histamine and other chemicals that cause inflammation.

As 'the battle' progresses, symptoms appear throughout the body, such as in the eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin and / or digestive tract causing itching, sneezing, bronchospasm ( wheezing), etc.

Symptoms can occur at various levels and show up differently. In some cases, they may be mild symptoms, but in others, can endanger the child's life or the person having this reaction. Depending on the symptoms that the child presents, it is possible to assess the degree of allergy:

- At the skin level. The most frequent symptoms are usually the appearance of atopic dermatitis, itching, redness of the skin, urticaria and angioedema (such as swelling of the lips or eyelids). Oral allergy syndrome usually presents itchy lips, tongue, throat, pharynx, and lip swelling (related to allergy to fruits and vegetables).

- At the digestive level. Oral or pharyngeal itching, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea and refusal of food may occur.

- At the respiratory level. Allergy symptoms can trigger acute rhinitis, conjunctivitis, glottis edema (hoarseness, aphonia, difficulty swallowing or getting air through the mouth) and bronchospasm (rapid breathing and wheezing or wheezing in the chest).

- At the cardiovascular level. They are usually reflected in hypotension, (syncope or sudden loss of consciousness) and arrhythmias. And in more serious cases, several symptoms appear at the same time, and this is what is called anaphylaxis.

Symptoms can appear within seconds or within a few hours after ingestion, contact, inhalation or injection of allergens, although in most cases they are evident within the first hour.

If your child has any type of reaction or symptom to any substance, you should consult your pediatrician immediately and, if the reaction of his immune system to the allergen is confirmed, avoid the child from coming into contact with said food or substance. .

There are some mild allergies that end up being solved, but the most serious ones are often suffered chronically throughout life.

Source consulted:
This article contains information taken from Histasan, Madrid Association of Food Allergies.

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