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Allergies are extremely common; Allergies are an overreaction of part of the body's immune system, that complex network of special cells and tissues, which normally help protect the body from foreign substances. The body's immune system misinterprets some substances that are usually harmless as being foreign or potentially harmful. As a result, the immune system makes substances such as IgE antibodies and histamine, which are released into the blood stream to fight off these foreign or potentially harmful substances. This starts an inflammatory reaction in different parts of the body, and allergy symptoms develop. Some organs that can be affected by allergic reactions are the eyes, nose, skin, lungs and the digestive system.
Allergies can cause many different symptoms depending on the age of the child and which organ in the body is affected by the allergic reaction.
If it is impossible to completely avoid the substance to which a child is allergic, it is important to minimize the child's exposure to the allergen.
Keep all children with known allergies away from cigarette smoke, as this can worsen the child's allergy symptoms. Avoid public places where people are smoking.
If you suspect that your child may have allergies, talk with a doctor, who may be able to diagnose allergies by examining your child and reviewing her symptoms and medical history. In some cases, the doctor may order some blood or skin tests to make a diagnosis. If there are signs of asthma, lung function testing might also be appropriate.
When symptoms persist despite these measures, various allergy medications are available. For example, some antihistamines block the immune system from releasing histamine into the blood, stopping allergic reactions before they start or slowing them down once they have begun. Steroids work to decrease the inflammation caused by the immune reaction; these can be in the form of nasal sprays, eyedrops, and pills or liquids taken orally. Allergy shots, the injection of tiny doses of an allergen, are helpful for some patients; they work by producing antibodies against the allergen, preventing severe allergic reactions in the future.