- June 08th, 2017
- Empowered Health
- Children's Health, Eczema, Hayfever, Naturopath Blackburn South
- 0 Comments
We are facing an allergy epidemic and most concerning is that children are at most risk.
Over 25% of Australian children have asthma, 20% have eczema and 25% have hay fever. Food allergies are on the rise. Over the past 30 years the public are becoming aware of the dangers of certain allergens such as peanuts or stone fruits and that if even inhaled by an allergic child can be very serious… and sometimes fatal. It is so dangerous that most kindergartens and schools have a ban on peanuts and other common food allergens.*
Do you have an atopic child?
Atopy is defined as a state of increased sensitivity to allergens, acquired from a family member. The way the child can present his or her atopy symptoms can be different from the way a parent may have suffered with their allergic illness. For example, "Child A" has had atopic eczema since he was 2 months. His father has had mild bouts of hay fever in the past, and mother suffered with recurrent ear infections as a child. Even though "Child A's" parents didn’t have eczema, they still presented with an atopic history. Atopic conditions are commonly hay fever, eczema, and asthma.
The cycle of Atopy
Atopy can present itself from age of 2 months. Cradle cap may be an early sign of the baby developing an atopic condition. Perhaps the baby may have had some gut issue before the reaction took place.
The most common presence is between 6months to 12months. House dust mites and pets can trigger hay fever in older children. Recurrent respiratory illness can turn into asthma. Generally during the teenager years, the symptoms can decrease possibly due to hormones. A sinus infection can occur later in adult life.
So, what is an allergic response?
An allergic response is triggered by an antigen (foreign invaders) binding to an antibody (soldiers). An antigen can be a pollen, food, or environmental irritant. The allergic response releases mast cells which release histamine.
Mucus and blood flow increase to the certain area in the body such as the nose, lungs or gut. An inflammatory response is elicited and symptoms such as mucus production, skin rashes, wheezing and even anaphylaxis can be triggered*. This can be a gradual or a dramatic response. IgE are memory antibody, they can remember foods they don’t agree with and trigger a terrifying response*.
Some common causes of atopy conditions include:
• Family history of asthma, eczema, hay fever and migraines can increase the chances of children suffering from allergies. The good news is that it can be treated with promising results.
• The skin microbiome needs to be in perfect balance. This means that it needs healthy bacteria to control offending bacteria. Once the skin microbiome is out of harmony it can lose its protective barrier and lead to inflammation and eczema outbreaks. The skin needs the right amount of water and moisture kept in the cells to keep it hydrated.
• Food sensitivities including cow’s milk, egg, peanuts, shellfish, fish, soy. However it is common to experience any food to trigger a reaction such as apples, tomato or kiwi fruit.
• An overactive immune system. If you have noticed your child plays outside and reacts to pollens in the air. The body releases T helper 2 cells in excess amounts and this can lead to breakdown of the skin’s barrier and result in an eczema flare.
• Immune mediated inflammation can decrease nutrients and essential fatty acids that help to regulate a reaction.
What can some of the triggers be?
• Dry winter weather can weaken the skin barrier and can trigger asthma and eczema.
• Soap and laundry detergents – repeated exposure can increase toxic load
• Swimming in chlorine can flare eczema
• Fragrances in cream – go as natural
• Food triggers – dairy, sesame, wheat, soy, shellfish
• Clothing – polyester clothes can trigger, opt for 100% cotton
• Stress – adults – when studying, or job demands
So in order to stay on top of childhood allergies/intolerances, we must identify the triggers and causes. Once we have unlocked the code, we support your child to thrive with the right foods, nutrients, and probiotics and lifestyle adjustments.
*Note: We do not treat anaphylaxis, IgE meditated responses.
Alysia Raftery is a Naturopath who is currently completing her Post grad studies in Paediatrics. She has extensive experience in treating babies, toddlers, and children with childhood illness including eczema and allergies. She has two children of her own and understands how important it is for the family to help a little person reach their optimal health.