In fact, the list of allergens to which the body may exhibit hypersensitivity (sensitization) is very large. The ill-wishers are products, pollen of plants, house dust and mites living in it, chemical compounds hovering in the air, animal dander and bird feathers, infections such as bacteria and fungi, and drug components. In order for any of these substances to cause a “violent” reaction — say, a rash or a runny nose, the body must perceive it as an alien one.
Then, in response to the appearance of the enemy, the immune system begins to produce special proteins – antibodies, or immunoglobulins. The so-called “allergic reaction” starts.
As well as the list of allergens, the list of manifestations of allergic reactions is very extensive. The most common, really, are skin phenomena: rash, spots, swelling, redness, itching and even just increased dryness of the skin.
It is in 80% of cases that allergy is most often manifested in children under 2 years of age; Doctors often combine these troubles with the word “atopic dermatitis.” At the same age in children, intestinal manifestations of allergies are also common: constipation or frequent stools, bloating, gas, mucus in the feces. Toward the age of 3, children may experience respiratory problems: coughing, difficulty breathing, and even asthma attacks. Allergies can also cause nasal congestion, sneezing, and a runny nose with clear discharge.
Another symptom of the problem is conjunctivitis, manifested by redness of the eyes, puffiness of the eyelids, tearing, feeling that something has fallen into the eye.
Allergies can even suffer … baby’s ears. In this case, a clear liquid is released from them, the ears itch, the ear canals become inflamed, and the child hears it worse because of this. The skin behind the ears turns red, and cracks may appear on it.
In children under 1 year old, gastroenterologists deal with this problem. The skin is a mirror of digestion; in children, almost 90% of problems with it are caused by disturbances in the intestines, because the gastrointestinal tract is also responsible for the adaptation processes – the organism’s adaptation to any new product. Beneficial bacteria in the intestine serve as a filter that retains harmful substances, including allergens. Violation of the microflora (dysbacteriosis) leads to insufficient “cleaning” of food from harmful impurities, which causes intolerance.
By treating problems in the digestive system (for example, lack of enzymes, dysbacteriosis and other diseases of the gastrointestinal tract), you can get rid of allergic manifestations. Specialized studies of feces help doctors identify problems. This is the first thing they will give to the child, and if necessary, an ultrasound scan of the abdominal organs. Consultation with an allergist is usually required for children older than 1 year.
Noticing that the baby was sprinkled after chocolate or citrus, the mother said with conviction: “Allergy.” In fact, for most babies, skin (rash, redness, itching) and intestinal manifestations (stool disorder, bloating) are not allergies, but the so-called food intolerance. This is an undesirable reaction to one or more products caused by the immaturity of the child’s digestive system.
In contrast, food allergies are a disorder in the body’s immune system. Food intolerance usually occurs in the first 3 years of life, when the baby is actively acquainted with new products, and eventually passes.
The reaction depends on the amount eaten and can occur both immediately and during the week. Food allergies persist for a lifetime, and its manifestations do not depend on the amount of food taken.
With food intolerance, the immune system works normally – only the processes of digestion of food are violated. As a rule, this is due to such disturbances in the work of the gastrointestinal tract, such as intestinal dysbiosis or pancreatic dysfunction.
But most often this disease occurs because of a lack of certain enzymes, and as soon as they mature, the symptoms disappear. For example, such a common problem as food intolerance to dairy products, causes a deficiency of the enzyme lactase necessary for the breakdown of milk sugar.
And it is precisely it that occurs in 99% of cases due to enzymatic or immune immaturity, as well as dysbiosis, and eventually disappears by itself or after treatment. But allergy to cow’s milk protein in fact occurs very rarely.
We just found out that not every reaction to food is an allergic reaction in its pure form. The baby’s body may react due to the immaturity of the enzymatic base, and not at all due to a malfunction of the immune system.
Therefore, do not rush to draw conclusions! In the period when a baby has a reaction to some food product, it is important not to increase the load on the body (in other words, not to provoke it once more) with products with high allergic potential like seafood or exotic fruits. Of course, it is necessary to exclude the product that caused the reaction – but not immediately and not forever.
If the reaction is not too strong (for example, a small rash and nothing else) do not abandon the innovation, wait 2‒4 days: during this time the child’s body may get used to the product, and the symptoms will decrease. If manifestations persist, cancel the product, but after about a month try to inject it again.
There is a chance that after the time the problems will not recur.
But immediately put the child on a strict hypoallergenic diet is not worth it. On the contrary, it will slow down the maturation of the enzymes responsible for the absorption of “unsuitable” products, and the intolerance will only increase. Secondly, the reckless exclusion of a certain product may affect the development of the child. If the allergy is constant, food restriction cannot cure it, because the food itself is not the cause of the problem.
And the poverty of the diet can affect the development of the baby is not the best way. For example, a dairy-free diet without a full replacement of milk – a source of protein and calcium – is fraught with problems with the musculoskeletal system, the nervous system, and physical development.
It is best to treat a comorbid disease, such as dysbiosis, or to facilitate the child’s perception of the product until its own enzymes mature. For example, add a suitable enzyme before eating a “problem” product. It is necessary to strive for expansion, and not narrowing of the diet of the small “allergy”, because if we do not introduce the body to something new, it will not learn to perceive this new.