Allergies or asthma can make anyone feel miserable, especially when they affect children. However, when the symptoms (and results) of these two medical conditions are combined, it can be much worse. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI), outdoor and indoor allergies impact over 6 million children in the United States each year. These reactions can result from a broad range of triggers, causing airway inflammation. When this inflammation is inside the lungs, it causes the airways to constrict (narrowing) and makes breathing difficult.
Allergies and Children
In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). This survey revealed that 8.4% of all children under the age of 18 in the United States suffer from hay fever, 11.6% have skin allergies, 10% have respiratory allergies, and 5.4% experience food allergies. With these statistics, it is not surprising that allergies and asthma are two of the most common chronic diseases in the United States. They can occur at the same time, and this combination happens more often than mostpeople realize. In fact, allergy-induced asthma is the most common type of asthma, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).
The common triggers for allergy-induced asthma in children include pollen from trees and grasses, mold spores, dust mites, pet dander (from skin, hair, or feathers), pests such as cockroaches, and other irritants. When these substances are inhaled from the environment, they can cause symptoms that include shortness of breath, wheezing, increased mucus production, and coughing.
The reaction to an allergen within the human body is much like watching dominoes tumble. One reaction triggers another, and so on. When the body detects an allergen, such as pollen, it identifies the pollen as an invader and reacts by activating the immune system. The immune system overreacts to the presence of pollen by releasing immunoglobulin E (IgE). This antigen travels to the cells and binds to the allergen in an effort to protect the body from harm, thus causing an allergic reaction. This medical condition caused by these allergic reactions is also referred to as allergic asthma, and its symptoms can be identical to those of non-allergic asthma.
Most physicians will tell parents to eliminate potential allergens from the family home and those things that can harbor dust, dust mites, and pet dander. They will also advise parents to keep children indoors on days when the pollen count is high, and when air quality is poor. However, it is not possible to keep your child 100% protected from allergens. So, how does a parent know exactly what their child is allergic to, without additional investigation?
Early allergy testing is the answer to discovering what is causing the allergic reactions in your child that ultimately lead to asthmatic symptoms. Otherwise, it is a guessing game, and your child continues to be miserable. Today, allergy testing for children is far simpler than it was years ago. Allergy testing can not only determine WHAT your child is allergic to, but also the SEVERITY of their reactions. The process requires just 4 small drops of blood, this blood can be tested for 71 environmental, 49 food and non-inhalant, stinging insects, latex, and penicillin, and the results can be available in as little as 3-5 days.
This quick turnaround time allows you and your child’s doctor to make an informed decision about future treatment options like immunotherapy treatment that can be personally formulated directly from your child’s allergy profile. This decision might be one of the easiest you can make as a parent. Clinical researchhas shown that immunotherapy can provide genuine relief for your child’s allergic symptoms and potentially reduce asthma flareups and the need for additional medications.