In our child care centres in the Perth area, our staff are trained to look out for signs of illness or discomfort in your children. One of the more common categories is allergies. The typical allergic reaction happens when cells release histamine in response to ordinary substances they incorrectly perceive as a pathogen.
The release of histamine is the root cause of most of the typical allergic reactions, including rashes, hives or red skin. Other symptoms: abdominal pain, vomiting and swelling. If the reaction is severe enough, such as those associated with an allergy to peanuts, the child can go into anaphylaxis, and may lead to anaphylactic shock. This can be life-threatening; severe cases require immediate medical attention.
Consequently, it is important to know when a child has allergies and to be alert for allergic reactions.
The Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction
Usually, an allergic reaction will happen within two hours of contacting or ingesting the substance that causes it. It can also happen immediately. A moderate or mild allergic reaction can include rash, hives or swelling of the skin. It can also include a tingling mouth, vomiting or abdominal pain. Vomiting after food is considered moderate, but if it happens after an insect bite, it usually indicates a severe reaction.
Severe allergic reactions, which require immediate medical intervention, include: swelling of the tongue or throat, difficulty breathing, a hoarse voice or trouble talking, a persistent cough, wheezing, dizziness or collapse.
We recommend that all children are tested for allergies. It is better to find out in a doctor’s office than on a playground or at a daycare centre. Your family doctor can refer you to an immunologist or allergist.
The first test will be a skin-prick test (SPT). The allergist pricks your child’s skin with a needle and puts a small amount of a suspected allergen on the skin. Blood tests are also available.