How to Fight Sneeze Season

Post 244 of 1732

What do pollen, dust, seafood and dairy have in common? Studies show that most kids in India are allergic to one or most of these. An allergy is simply a reaction to a foreign trigger that leads to inflammation or irritation of the nose, eyes, ears, sinuses, throat, larynx or skin. Allergens can be inhaled, eaten (certain foods), injected (from stings or medicine), or can come in contact with the skin. While keeping children locked inside your home and restricting them from playing outside isn’t really recommended, we do advise you to look out for signs and consult a certified GP right away. Here’s a crash course on the most common allergies and symptoms.

AIRBORNE TRIGGERS

The usual suspects
Dust, pollen
WATCH OUT FOR
• Stuffy nose or runny nose, continuous sneezing
• Rubbing or wrinkling of nose and grimacing to relieve nasal itch
• Watery, itchy eyes
• Redness or swelling in and under the eyes
• Hay fever

The usual suspects
Vehicle exhaust, cooking smoke, cigarette smoke
WATCH OUT FOR
• Chest congestion
• Pressure on the sinuses or stuffiness
• Tightness in throat
• Choking
• Headaches

Dr Sudha Kumar, senior physician at Soukya Clinic, Bangalore, says, “Airborne allergens trigger the respiratory symptoms associated with asthma.”

NATURAL DISASTERS

The usual suspects
Chemicals used in plant fertilisers and insecticides, mold (from fungi, rotting logs or leaves)
WATCH OUT FOR
• Vomiting
• Nausea
• Upset stomach, mild discomfort or ache
• Diarrhoea • Sneezing, rashes, wheezing, runny nose, mild headaches

Dr Kishore Kumar, founder, Cloudnine Hospital, Bangalore, says, “Sudden changes in weather or exposure to cold air or wind can cause respiratory issues. Unseasonal rain showers that create weather fluctuations can lead to pneumonia. A form of acute respiratory disease, pneumonia is caused by a number of infectious agents like viruses, bacteria and fungi, and affects the lungs.”

DANGER ON A PLATE

The usual suspects
Nuts (especially peanuts), wheat, dairy products, eggs (especially the yolk), shellfish, prawns and other seafood (usually allergy towards shellfish occurs later in life)
WATCH OUT FOR
• Cough
• Vomiting
• Diarrhoea
• Itching
• Rashes
• Eczema
• Difficultly in breathing
• Drop in blood pressure (due to shock)

Dr Sudha says, “Food allergies can occur in children after introducing solid food. Almost all children with food allergies will have skin symptoms of hives, itching and redness, which occur within a few minutes of consuming the food.”

MEDICALLY UNFIT

The usual suspects
Medicines that contain sulphur, aspirin or penicillin
WATCH OUT FOR
• Hives
• Fainting
• Drop in blood pressure

Dr Sunita Rajagopalan, paediatrician, Manipal Hospital, Bangalore, says, “Allergies can also be hereditary. For example, if you as a parent are allergic to a particular medicine, there is a high chance that your child will also have similar allergies. The risk increases if both parents have same allergies.”

ENEMIES AT HOME

The usual suspects
Dust, mites, houseflies, cockroaches
WATCH OUT FOR
• Sneezing
• Runny nose
• Wheezing
• Rashes

Dr Sudha says, “Home pollutants like dust mites (found in bedding, furniture and carpets), pet dander, cockroach debris, tobacco smoke and paint fumes are known to aggravate asthma.”

PET PEEVES

The usual suspects
Dander and saliva from dog, cat, horse, rabbit or mouse
WATCH OUT FOR
• Rashes
• Stuffiness of the nose
• Sneezing
• Runny or itchy nose
The usual suspects
Venom from insect stings
WATCH OUT FOR
• Drop in blood pressure
• Fainting
• Boils
• Rashes or itching all over the body

Ganesa Wegienka, researcher, Department of Public Health Sciences, Henry Ford Hospital, USA, says, “Early exposure to pets can prevent kids from being sensitive to these animals later in life.”

*DISCLAIMER: ALTHOUGH MOST ALLERGIES ARE JUST ANNOYANCES, THEY CAN LEAD TO SERIOUS SYMPTOMS IN SOME CHILDREN AS THEY GROW OLDER, IF NOT TACKLED AND TREATED APPROPRIATELY. IF THE SYMPTOMS PERSIST OR WORSEN, VISIT A PAEDIATRICIAN OR GP IMMEDIATELY.

PHOTOGRAPHS: SHUTTERSTOCK

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