Archive | Allergies

Pregnant Mommy’s Exposure to Microbes Help Protect Her Kids from Allergies

There are current studies that suggest that those mothers who have been exposed to the bacteria in the environment when pregnant can actually give their babies immunity from acquiring allergies as they grow up. When exposed inside the womb, these babies already gain the antibodies which makes them have a sort of protection from the harmful diseases that bacteria exposure can bring. This includes some infections and allergies.

Children who are exposed to a very clean environment are the ones who often get sick and acquire allergens from a lot of things as compared to those kids who are frequently exposed to the harmful elements in nature. This theory is referred to as hygiene hypothesis. This explains why those who grew up in barns and farms have fewer allergy and acquired diseases compared to those who are brought up in a highly urbanized and clean environment.

Having allergies is one of the most uncomfortable feelings one could ever have. During an allergy attack, you can hardly function well because you will be spending all day scratching your face, sneezing, and have teary eyes. In severe forms, there are those allergies that cause dandruff on the scalp and scaling of the skin. These are just some of the discomforts that allergies give to us adults.

Lucky for us adults we have ways in which we can get rid of having them and not be affected with their annoying symptoms. But with children, it is very hard for them to have allergies because their bodies are still fragile and they are more vulnerable to complications. When some areas of the body itch, they tend to scratch it until it bleeds. This can be harmful since the child’s skin is still very sensitive so they easily break and get wounded. When wound heals, it develops into a scar that can still be present until they become adults. With these scars, their self esteem can be affected and cause them to become insecure. Plus those who have allergies are not just bound to have skin imperfections; they are bound to asthma attacks which is a more serious condition.

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On Raising Vegetarian Children

Being a vegetarian may entail a lot of different meanings to various people.  There are those that simply represent diet, while there are others that embody some ethical or religious beliefs.  In essence, being a vegetarian simply means a person who does not consume meat of any kind – and this includes seafood.  Majority of vegetarians are ovo-lacto which means that they do not eat meat but do consume dairy products like milk, eggs, and cheese.  Ovo-vegetarians on the other hand only eat eggs but not dairy products.  The term vegan represents vegetarians who do not eat any animal products at all.

Health is primarily the most popular reason for being a vegetarian.  However, a vegetarian diet does not always equate to a healthy balanced diet.  One may not eat meat at all but may still be involved in high consumption of chocolates, soda, and chips.

If you have children who are vegetarian, it is important to provide the support and knowledge to them.  The perfect time to educate your child about good eating habits is during their early childhood years.  Studies show that diets that are high in cholesterol and saturated fats, which lead to risks in heart disease, start in the early childhood years.  You may find it difficult to explain to your child vegetarianism but at that young age, a broad explanation of the different aspects and benefits of being a vegetarian is helpful.

A child usually eats what is given to them, which makes it a perfect time to begin developing their eating patterns and taste preferences to food.  Children start to choose their own preference in food at the age of three and this is based on the familiarity with the food they are accustomed to.  This is the time when your child begins to build their own opinions about food which makes it very critical that you get them used to eating healthy foods, like vegetables, early.

As they grow older, they get more opportunities to experience different foods outside your home.  But this is also the time that they would understand you or your family’s viewpoint about having a healthy diet.  However, there is still no denying the fact that there are absolute requirements for a child’s diet.  Eliminating a whole food group will not yield overall health benefits as certain nutrients needed by the body are depleted or deprived. A balanced diet of each food group will promote wellness and optimum nutrition to your growing child.

Iron deficiency, for example, that leads to anemia is the most common problem amongst vegetarian children.  This is because meat products have the best source of iron.  However, iron may also be found abundantly in vegetables like grains, broccoli, beans, nuts, and dried fruits.  Consumption of foods or drinks that are rich in Vitamin C is advised as this greatly improves iron absorption.

Raising your child to become a strong and healthy vegetarian child is pretty straightforward.  All it entails is a little bit of research.  It’s also a good practice to teach your child to do research on his or her own.  The fundamental part is that your child gets all the recommended number of servings and nutrients.  Being a vegetarian may just prove to be not only adequate but very healthy as well.

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What is Baby Acne?

Adults confronted by pimples can freak out. With that said, it’s nothing really new to find parents overly alarmed when they see their baby with pimples. Yes, those elevated, red and rough rashes also called baby acne or infantile acne. Baby acne can possibly develop in babies especially in the nose and cheeks but it may appear anywhere else in the face. It is said that although they may appear and fade away after some time, the acne becomes more pronounced when your baby acts fussy or is crying.

Admittedly, it can sometimes be difficult to note if your baby is suffering from  a range of skin conditions or disorders such as milia, eczema, heat rash, erythema toxicum and cradle cap. That is why, a regular visit to your pediatrician is necessary to eliminate any possible problem that might come up.

As to what causes baby acne, experts still do not agree on a specific reason. However, the most probable reason that can be accepted is that hormones from the mother may be responsible. When a baby is delivered, some of the raging hormones carried by the mother may be passed to her baby; a sensible reason why a baby may have the pimple right after birth.

Additionally, the use of strong detergents in washing the clothes of the baby may also be the reason for the baby acne. If not, the clothes of the baby may also prove as the irritant; the same with other factors like milk and spittle. At times, drugs and other ailments can lead to the development of rash or any other similar skin condition.

In the meantime, after assurance from your doctor, you’ll have to be extremely relaxed and patient about the acne. There is not treatment necessary but in very rare instances, the doctor will advise you to carefully and minimally apply topical acne drugs to fight off the condition. Again, this is a last resort for very rare and severe cases.

As recommended, you’ll have to wash your child’s face gently; once a day is already okay. Using plain water is already fine but if you want to use soap, a hypoallergenic mild soap is advised. Also, resist the urge to vigorously brush your child’s face as this action may cause further irritation. As much as possible, wash your baby’s clothes separately from the adults’ clothes. There are detergent products that are already advertised as specifically safe for the fragile skin of children. Also, if ever you notice rashes forming after giving a particular drug, immediately inform your doctor.

Finally, if it really bothers you a lot, you may want to get a second opinion from another doctor. Bear in mind, however, that baby acne may still be conveniently there for up to three months. As a parent, it may really be alarming and for your baby who is not exactly bothered, it’s just one of those stubborn zits. In time, the baby acne will resolve by itself and you no longer have to worry a great deal.

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All About Vaccines: What Adverse Reactions Are Possible?

Children are normally required to be provided various vaccines in accordance to their age.  However, not too many people are familiar with the problems that are linked with adverse reactions to vaccines.  Although these reactions are rare, they definitely require you to be familiar with them.  These reactions are generally caused by hypersensitivity to chickens, eggs, gelatin, antibiotics, and mercury.
 
Allergies from Antibiotics
 
 Polio vaccines, MMR or measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines, and varicella vaccines contain neomycin which could cause minor skin rashes.  If your child, however, has allergy with this type of antibiotic, it is advised that you do not subject your child to this type of vaccine. On the other hand, children that are allergic to penicillin antibiotic are safe to take this vaccine as no vaccine contains this type of antibiotic.
Allergies from Eggs and/or Chickens
 
 The vaccine commonly called as the “flu shot” or the influenza vaccine has egg proteins.  People, in general, who have an allergic reaction to eggs or chicken, should never take this kind of vaccine.
For people who travels especially in tropical countries like Africa, chances are you may be prone to Yellow fever.  However, yellow fever vaccines also do contain egg protein.  What can be done to resolve this is to take two skin tests using the vaccine.  If both skin tests did not show any reaction, you or your child may proceed with taking the vaccine.  If any of the two tests presented a reaction, this means that a desensitization process has started.
The MMR vaccines are safe to be taken by children with egg or chicken allergies.  Children with dramatic egg allergies are also improbable to have any adverse reaction to this type of vaccine.
 
Allergies from Gelatin
 
  There are a number of live vaccines that use gelatin as their stabilizing agent.  Children who have severe allergic reaction to gelatin are advised to take skin tests first before taking these vaccines.  Gelatins either come from boiled hogs or cows.  Most gelatins come from boiled cows.  Vaccines that contain gelatin usually come from boiled hogs.  You will need to determine first what type of gelatin your child is allergic to. Vaccines that have gelatin in their ingredients are MMR, yellow fever vaccines, and varicella.
Allergies from Mercury
 
Mercury also referred to as thimerosal in vaccines, is a component found in some vaccines.  This is usually used in killing contaminants in the body.  Although severe allergic reactions to this ingredient are rare, children who are allergic to mercury should still be cautious.  Vaccines that use this as an ingredient are usually those that are found in a multi-dose tablets.
Vaccines that are typically included in the routine schedule are free from mercury or thimerosal or contain only a small amount.  There are also a number of inactivated influenza vaccines available.  However, these types of influenza vaccines have limited supply.  The PHS or the Public Health Service and the AAP or the American Academy of Pediatrics has already taken steps to eliminate the use of mercury as an ingredient to vaccines.  Preservatives were also required, especially those for multi-dose vials to avoid any forms of microbial contamination that happens when the vial is unwrapped.  All manufacturers of these types of vaccines were persuaded to look for other options of preventing contamination.

Posted in Allergies, Chickenpox, Child Safety, Infections, Measles, Mumps0 Comments

Seasonal Allergies: What Every Parent Should Know

As a child, you experienced the same kind of problem and you know how sometimes horrified your mother looked like knowing that you are again experiencing a bout of seasonal allergies. Now, as a parent, you wonder if there are more things you could do to help your child who is in the same situation as you were in the past.

Truly, seasonal allergies otherwise called hay fever is a reaction of our body to particles in the air like mold or pollen that should not be lightly taken. If you live somewhere near a forested area or if you maintain a garden full of weeds and grass, you and your family are at risk of suffering from the said condition. Your child will also likely acquire the condition if either you or your partner has the condition. The chances are doubled if both parents have the condition.

Basically, you’ll know that your child is suffering from the disorder if he develops the signs and symptoms like a runny nose that secretes clear to whitish secretions, congestion, watery eyes and a scratchy throat. As opposed to a i all-year round allergy, a seasonal allergy happens during a specific period of the year and will disappear in a few weeks.

If you think your child has hay fever, it is not a good idea to dismiss the symptoms and just do nothing about it. Although studies profess that allergies may come and go; it is but necessary to be able to seek treatment or relief from the problem. Children may not be able to verbalize or figure it out but because of hay fever, they will have difficulty concentrating in school, easily fatigued in tasks and they will certainly be hard up in trying to get an adequate amount of sleep. The worst conditions will also show up in the future as reflected in chronic problems like ear infections, asthma, sinusitis and other similar diseases. Another sign you may to have to observe is when your child seems to let out a few sneezes once he is the comfort of your own home with the airconditioner turned on. This applies the same when your kid seems to be livelier in your car than in your garden.

These said, you’ll have to go visit your healthcare provider. In the clinic, your kid, after careful examination and evaluation mostly on history taking, the doctor may refer you to an allergist who will then determine specific problems related to allergy by performing a skin test. A skin test is performed by using an allergen pricked into the surface of the skin. After a while, the skin is checked if rashes appear as a reaction to the specific allergen. At times, intradermal testing is also made to ensure that the allergens are appropriately identified other than the use of skin testing.

If your child really suffers from seasonal allergies, then the doctor will likely suggest the use of a saline nasal rinse as well as over-the-counter anti-histamines. And, for the duration of the season, you’ll have to shield your child from pollen and mold exposure.

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Dealing with Ear Aches in Children

The ear is an important organ we use everyday for hearing. Imagine how difficult it would be to converse if lose our sense of hearing. The ear collects sound waves and transmits them to the brain. Sound is collected from the outer ear and travels to the middle ear through the ear canal and then it hits the eardrum and the vibration made causes the tiny bones inside the inner ear to move and this movement sends the signals to the brain to be interpreted as sounds.

Ear aches are caused by bacteria or a virus that infects the lining of the Eustachian tube, this tube connects the middle ear through the back end of the nose. The purpose of the Eustachian tube is to drain fluid out of the middle ear; if the fluid is not drained properly bacteria can proliferate and cause pressure inside the ear which causes the pain that most children feel. The Eustachian tube can be blocked by allergens, colds, infections and other blockages like the adenoid glands close to the ear when they become inflamed. Children are more common to ear infections because their Eustachian tubes are shorter and narrower compared to adults and this anatomical difference makes them prone towards various infections.

Most children complain of pain inside the ear and sometime a ringing sound. Ear infections usually take around 1 to 2 weeks to heal while in some cases it can become a chronic condition. For toddlers and infants who cannot communicate well enough you may only associate symptoms if they cry a lot, pulls their ears or tugs the ear frequently. Ear pain is quite uncomfortable and will leave your child restless and agitated.

Treatment of ear infections depends if the infection is caused by bacteria or viruses. Doctor may prescribe antibiotics in the presence of a bacterial infection. Make sure to follow the dosage and complete the duration of the antibiotic therapy to avoid recurrent infections. Pain relievers may help ease the pain and reduce fever if there is any. Avoid giving your children Aspirins as this is known to cause Reye’s syndrome, a condition that damages the brain and liver and cause death in severe cases. Some doctors can prescribe ear drops to promote comfort and alleviate the pain.

To avoid ear aches in children we must take steps in preventing its cause – ear infections. If your child is fond of swimming you can advise him to use ear plugs to avoid fluid in the middle ear that easily attracts bacteria and viruses. Keep your child’s immune system healthy and strong by giving him nutritious foods to eat with lots of vitamins and minerals. Avoid frequent use of cotton swabs in the ear as this may cause more damage to the eardrums and can introduce bacteria into the inner ear. Avoid second hand smoke as this is one of the risk factors for ear infections along with frequent episodes of colds and flu.

Posted in Allergies, Child Safety, Growing Pains1 Comment

A Natural Approach to Childhood Skin Disorders

A significant number of our population suffer from skin disorders. Thankfully, there are a lot of creams, lotions and ointments that are being advertised almost everywhere. However, it should be understood that these synthetic products have side effects and given that the skin of our children are far more fragile than us, would it not be better to try another alternative, specifically, the natural approach?

Yes. Parents have another option but just like the drugs bought over-the-counter and those prescribed by the doctor,there are still side effects that may be encountered when using some of the natural approaches to childhood disorder. Therefore, prior to using, one should take a pro-active stance and confer with their doctor.

Cleansing and exfoliation is very important; a lot of parents will attest to the use of honey, ginseng, and cucumber. These organic plants have cleansing agents, an excellent way to maintain the health of the skin thereby preventing the development of skin inflammation. Essential elements are also found in these plants making skin regeneration a possibility. Other plants used in countering psoriasis, skin pigmentation, eczema etc. are herbs like chamomile, chickweed, jojoba, marigold and tea tree. Preparations are necessary before these are applied.

Probably the most significant of all is the use of aloe vera. Again, precautions should be heeded as some people are allergic to the plant. The aloe vera is a plant which, as proven by experts, contain several amino acids, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals that complement the skin. It has the ability to penetrate the skin and heal the parts that are traumatized because of its anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, it also has Magnesium Lactate which is known to stop and prevent unnecessary swelling and redness in the skin. Again, these products might work for some but it does not mean that it may be effective with your child; practice caution.

Also, when trying to prevent, control or treat skin disorders, a child should also be exposed to the sun. The rays of the sun are actually healthy and aid in promoting the synthesis of Vitamin D in the body; which in turn, helps in our skin’s health. Just be sure that exposure is only during the early hours of the morning. These days, if you expose your child beyond ten, chances are, he’ll suffer from another form of skin disorder. It is also but appropriate to make sure that your child’s clothes are clean. The detergent you use may also irritate the skin so make sure to purchase those that are extra-sensitive to the fragile skin of your child. You may also want to buy clothes that are made of cotton as compared to nylon. Cotton allows the air to breathe. Also, you might also want to check the soap you use; harsh chemicals are found in some soaps that may not prove beneficial to the skin. Additionally, convince your child that he already smells great; using colognes and perfumes may aggravate the skin ailment. Then, during the night, make sure that the room where your child sleeps is humidified every now and then. This is to make sure that moisture in the skin is retained.

Finally, encourage a healthy diet and adopt a healthy lifestyle at home. Even if your child does not smoke does not mean he is not affected.

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When Your Child Has Nut and Peanut Allergy

Allergies are very common in children. Nowadays, a child can develop allergies in almost any kind of food. But one kind which is considered the most common food which causes allergies are nuts and peanuts. Based on statistics, many children especially in the United States are allergic to peanuts. Though it is said that allergies from peanuts are usually outgrown, it should still be cause for alarm for parents because they might bring some effects that could harm children.

Peanuts, Nuts and their Effects on Allergic Children

Did you know that peanuts are not really nuts? Yes, they belong to the family of lentils and peas which are considered legume. If your child is one of those who are allergic to peanuts, when they accidentally eat some of them, their immune systems would mistake the proteins present in the said peanuts as substances that could cause harm to the body, which leads to allergies because the body tries to fight them off.

How does an Allergic Reaction Occur?

Because of this confusion of the body, when they fight off the allergens present in peanuts, the immune system makes antibodies which are called immunoglobulin E or IgE. Because of this chemical, the mast cells or allergy cells releases chemicals inside the body, specifically in the bloodstream like histamine. This in turn travels through different parts of the body like the gastrointestinal tract, the skin, lungs, throat, nose or eyes. When these chemicals reach these body parts, it causes what medical experts call an allergic reaction.

Why Peanut and Nut Allergies are Alarming

The reason why allergies to peanuts should be a cause for alarm for parents is because they can be so harsh, even the smallest amount of peanuts can be a trigger. Why? Because the body’s immune system can easily recognize the allergens present in peanuts compared to other types of proteins in other food. Similarly, these allergens found in peanuts are also found in specific tree nuts like cashews, pecans, pistachios, macadamias, hazelnuts, walnuts, and almonds. It can also be concluded that most people who are allergic to tree nuts also trigger their allergies when they eat peanuts. But the main cause for alarm for parents is that based on expert findings, peanuts and nuts are one of the most fatal allergies.

How to Keep Your Children away from Peanuts or Nuts

In order to keep your children safe from nut and peanut allergies, you should consider doing the following:

  1. Make sure that your home is free from nuts or peanuts.
  2. If nuts and peanuts cannot be avoided at home, make sure the utensils your child with allergies to nuts uses are separated from the rest of the family’s things.
  3. Do not serve any kind of food without reading the ingredients.
  4. Make sure you prepare your child’s snacks yourself.
  5. Keep an antihistamine like epinephrine handy. Remember that it only takes a few seconds before nut allergies work, so it is better to be always prepared for these things.

 

 

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