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Brad Becker * Beckerba@slu.eduSt. Louis University
Brad Becker, ...
Brad Becker, MD
But these same symptoms in children may go undiagnosed and not adequately treated, notes Brad Becker, M.D., an allergy specialist at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center and Saint Louis University.
explains that the seasonal allergy symptoms in a child may mimic a cold and may even be confused with food allergies, particularly if the child suffers from puffy eyes and redness about the face.
Further adding to the possibility of allergies being overlooked is that the onset may not occur during the child's first years of life.
says children often do not develop an allergy to pollen until about the ages of 3 to 8.
Prior to that, they may be symptom free.
"The first year it happens, parents may be confused as to what's occurring," Dr. Becker
"Most commonly, parents think the child has a cold.
But when the symptoms are not accompanied by fever and tend to recur every spring with a lot of itching- those are the hallmarks of a seasonal allergy.
"An allergy," Dr. Becker
continues, "is simply the body's reaction to some substance - in this case to tree pollen.
says that in mild cases, non-prescriptions may help reduce symptoms, but these often will only be effective when steps are also taken to limit exposure.
says that treatment goals should include prescribing the lowest dose of medicine possible to relieve symptoms, but he
emphasizes that medicine generally is not effective unless exposure to pollen also is reduced.
Dr. Becker notes that for children with allergies to tree pollen, springtime can be just the first assault.
Late spring grass pollen is released, followed in fall by ragweed pollen and in late fall by mold, which continues until the onset of winter.
Mold spores are also in the air these times of the year.
Parents also should not delay seeking help for a child with significant allergies, thinking the child will "outgrow" the allergy, Dr. Becker
"This is true of some children, but more than half of children continue to have symptoms into adulthood," Dr. Becker
"Many children do not outgrow or tolerate their allergies until late in their grade school years or even middle school years, so it's worth getting the child evaluated and treated."
continues that heredity also plays a role.
Allergies? Know when to call the doctor
"Nasal allergies can contribute to a lot of ear and sinus infections, which can drive a parent to distraction," says Brad Becker, MD, an allergy and asthma specialist at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's MedicalCenter and associate professor of pediatrics at Saint LouisUniversity.
also urges parents not to expose children to environmental tobacco smoke.
"People are not allergic to tobacco smoke, but it's a major irritant to the airways - both the upper and lower airways - and can make the child more susceptible to an allergic reaction."
If symptoms linger, Dr. Becker
says it's time to talk to the child's doctor and perhaps to an allergist.
continues that children may benefit from initial treatment with some of the newer over-the-counter antihistamine medications - but he
suggests talking with the child's physician first.
The next step would be to try prescription medications, including nasal steroid sprays, which may reduce symptoms and the number of ear and sinus infections.
An allergist can also conduct skin or blood testing to identify the exact triggers of a child's allergies.
adds that if initial treatments fail to relieve symptoms, allergy injections are effective in helping about eight of 10 children.
Healthy Kids Q&A, March 14 2005
Dr. Brad Becker, co-director of the Asthma Center for Children at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, and an associate professor of pediatrics at Saint Louis University , confirms that there is no risk to your daughter from the hardwood flooring.
April Showers Bring May Flowers (and Allergies, Asthma)
"Asthma and allergies can be a nuisance, and in some cases they can even be dangerous, but they can be controlled if managed properly," says allergist Brad Becker, M.D., FAAAAI, Co-director of the Asthma Center for Children at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, and an associate professor of pediatrics at Saint Louis University.
says proper management of spring allergies may include antihistamines, steroids taken by inhalers, or allergen immunotherapy in cases where the former therapies are ineffective.
Allergen immunotherapy involves the injection of certain allergens into a patient's skin, leading the body to decrease its reactivity to the symptom-causing allergen.
Proper management of asthma, Dr. Becker
says, involves development of an asthma action plan, prescription of asthma medications, and lots of patient and parent education on the various "triggers" that lead to asthmatic episodes.
Many kids don't get the preventive care they need because it's too expensive, then they end up in hospital emergency rooms because their breathing problems have gone untreated," says Dr. Becker, who serves as volunteer for the St. Louis AAFA.