ASTHMA AND ALLERGY IN CHILDREN Prof. Dr. Zafer Arslan Created: 2016-03-17 15:09:32
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Certain substances to which normal people do not react are called allergens, and the reaction that an allergic person gives when allergens are contacted is called allergy. While a person who is not allergic can go to picnic to the meadows among trees in the spring, one with history of allergy and pollen hypersensitivity suffers from a crisis associated with severe sneezing, nasal and eye discharge, itching, and cough in such an environment.


Substances called allergens are those including but not limited to home dust mites, grass, trees, grass pollens, cat and dog hairs, mold spores and milk-egg-nuts and some foods.

Allergic structure is the one which is hereditarily transferred, and a person develops sensitivity to one or more above allergens and starts to react. Developing as defined above, the allergic diseases include asthma, eczema, allergic rhinitis, and food and drug allergies.

Infants are in contact with foods from the mother's womb via umbilical cord. For this reason, they may develop sensitivity to cow milk and egg in the first few months after 2-3 months of age and they may develop allergic eczema (atopic dermatitis). An infant with eczema may loss the sensitivity to nutrients over time. In this way, their eczema relieves, while they are developing sensitivity against allergens such as dust and pollen, resulting with allergic rhinitis and asthma.

Recently, incidence of allergic diseases increased in the form of epidemics. Following features are remarkable when the increase is questioned for last fifty years:

- Together with the industrialization, living at the poorly ventilated houses covered with carpet,

- Spending a substantial time for watching TV without any exercise,

- Wide spread use of antibiotics and reduction of some diseases by vaccines

-Changing eating habits (fast food) and obesity,

-Vitamin D deficiency depending on spending less time outside,

This increase is not seen in rural areas where people live in close contact with animals.

It can be speculated that recently, every one of three children suffers from asthma. Among the diseases related to allergy, asthma has the first rank. Asthma is the most common chronic pediatric disease and most common underlying of emergency medicine admittances. The frequency is about %10 in our country.

Cough is the most basic feature of the asthma. Particularly, it leads to cough that wakes the patient up during night sleep and it aggravates during day time depending on running and spending effort and sometimes, it may cause dyspnea; combination of those findings is referred as asthma attack. Eight percent of asthma cases start before the age of six, and in this age range, cough and wheezing are common.

Additionally, premature children of smoker mother start the life under disadvantages conditions and wheezing can be commonly seen in this specific population. It is important to make differential diagnosis of asthma and proper treatment must be started in a timely manner.

Delay in treatment interferes with the quality of life. In addition, it may cause permanent respiratory disorders in the future. If parents have asthma or the child suffers from eczema, cough and wheezing can be induced or if the child has allergic attacks three times within last 1 year, it is considered as asthma.

How can we diagnose whether a child is allergic?

If a 2 to 3 months old child has eczema on her cheeks, we know that the child has food-related allergic disease at rate of 50 percent. This child may often have frequent nasal flow and congestion, cough and obstruction as well as middle ear problems. For this reason, preferred antibiotics may be useless. Even, unnecessary ear tube and adenoid surgery may be required. Allergic structure is particularly prone to viral respiratory tract infections in autumn and winter, and such infections may be persistent. However, it is possible to minimize such problems and ensure a healthy progress with allergy consultation and protective measures. Each child with above specified history is worthy to consider allergy assessment irrespective of eczema or familial history of allergic condition.

What are protective measures for allergic diseases?

- Living in a house well-ventilated, non-carpeted, easy to clean,

- Balanced and healthy diet,

- Avoiding unnecessary use of antibiotics,

- Adequate exposure to sun rays and fresh air,

- Avoiding sedentary life, smoking and polluted air.

This post has been written by Prof. Dr. Zafer Arslan and viewed 17110 times.