Pediatric allergies in Lake Barrington IL relieved by treating the cause
Just as an adult-sized product doesn’t work for a pint-sized child, allergies in children are not exactly the same as allergies in adults.
While allergies and related conditions such as allergic asthma are particularly common in childhood, the good news is that it is common for allergies to subside as a child gets older, and fewer medications may be needed to control conditions in children.
Hay fever (or allergic rhinitis) isn’t triggered by hay and it doesn’t cause fever, but it does set off nasal congestion, watery and red eyes, and a runny and itchy nose. Allergies are considered the most common cause of a stuffy nose in children. The congestion can make it difficult for the child to sleep, and breathing through the mouth to compensate for the inability to breathe through the nose can even lead to problems with how teeth and facial bones develop.
Allergies can inflame the ear, and ensuing buildup may result in infections, impaired hearing, and poor speech if the child is learning to talk when hearing is impaired.
Perhaps one of the scariest complications associated with allergies is anaphylaxis. The most severe food allergies have been associated with peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish. Unlike allergies to milk, eggs, and wheat, children often carry these allergies into adulthood. Severe allergies can result in anaphylaxis, a reaction that can induce breathlessness, a rapid drop in blood pressure, and shock.
Help for pediatric allergies
Rescue medications such as epinephrine (adrenalin) may be administered via a pen-like device. If your child isn’t old enough to self-inject, you need to speak with any care providers or teachers to assure they have the device on hand and are prepared to use it.
After tests are conducted at our office in Lake Barrington IL, we can pinpoint the cause of your child’s allergies. Generally, there are two types of treatments:
- Medications – Including decongestants and antihistamines to control allergy symptoms by preventing the release of chemicals that cause reactions, and corticosteroids to treat inflammation
- Immunotherapy – Traditionally, a small amount of the allergen is injected one to three times a week for three to six months until the three to five year maintenance phase is reached, which typically requires monthly dosing. More recently, the FDA approved the use of the first sublingual (under the tongue) allergen extract in the U.S. This may be an option if your child is scared of needles, as an extract of the culprit substance is prepared in a drop or tablet, placed under the tongue for 60 to 120 seconds, and then swallowed. The timeline for treatment is generally the same as allergy shots.
The idea with both types of immunotherapy is to expose the immune system to the allergen in very small, but gradually increasing doses, building up the body’s tolerance to the allergen. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology reports sublingual therapy has promise for the management of allergies particularly common among children. This includes sensitivities to eggs that produce hives and other physical symptoms, allergic rhinitis or hay fever (brought on not by hay but by mites, grass, ragweed, dander and tree pollens), and for the chronic skin condition, atopic dermatitis (eczema).
Our specialists, Drs. Noga Askenazi, Eugenia Hahn, and Dipika Patel have experience with the latest, proven methods for treating pediatric allergies in Lake Barrington IL. Call our local office at 847 888 8802.