Small child

Hair allergy in children - is your child stuck with it?

Hair allergy in children - is your child stuck with it?


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Without a doubt, allergy can be described as a civilization disease of the 21st century (statistics say that up to 30 to 40 percent of the population suffers from it, especially the pediatric population), a pet hair is one of the most important factors causing it. Thus, basic knowledge about the mechanisms of its formation, symptoms and methods of treatment should be part of the knowledge of every conscious parent raising his child in the company of furry friends.

What is an allergy?

The essence of allergies, whether inhaled or food-borne, is excessive and inadequate response of our immune system to a given allergen, which among healthy people does not cause any allergic symptoms (e.g. pet dander). This reaction involves a lot of cells and active substances, which in normal conditions are responsible for remembering and fighting the factors that threaten the body (bacteria, viruses, or toxins). In the case of allergies, these mechanisms are focused on factors completely harmless, and the only effect of their activation are symptoms referred to as allergic symptoms.

What are the symptoms of an animal hair allergy?

As we mentioned in the previous paragraph, allergy is the result of the activation of many different defense mechanisms. This results in the fact that its symptoms are very diverse and they can affect almost all organs and systems of our body. Of these, the most characteristic for animal hair allergies are:

  • On the part of the eyes - conjunctival redness, itching and tearing.
  • On the part of the respiratory system itching and watery nasal discharge, coughing, or particularly disturbing wheezing, a feeling of being unable to breathe (in some cases, a rapid allergic reaction may even cause suffocation).
  • On the part of the skin - skin redness, itching, and hives.

All of the above-mentioned symptoms are an indication for allergological consultation and implementation of appropriate therapy. What is worth noting, however, in the event of severe respiratory symptoms immediate medical attention is needed, preferably in a hospital setting!

Hair, what kind of animals does it sensitize most often?

Most often for allergies to animal hair the cats are responsible. What's more, the symptoms usually have a more severe nature than if you are allergic to other pets' fur.

How to reduce exposure to pet allergens?

Without a doubt, the most effective way limiting the child's contact with animal allergens is the absence of pets at home. Of course, in many cases this is impossible or even inadvisable.

In these situations, the only thing parents can do is limiting the amount and spread of allergens. This can be obtained through getting rid of heavy curtains, bed covers or rugs (they are a kind of allergen storage) and frequent abrasion and vacuuming of floors with vacuum cleaners equipped with high efficiency filters (HEPA).

How to treat allergies to animal hair?

Treatment of animal hair allergies can be divided into two main groups - symptomatic and causal treatment.

The first of these includes limiting contact with animals (the less contact with allergens the milder the allergic symptoms) and the use of drugs designed to inhibit the immune mechanisms involved in the allergic reaction (oral antihistamines and inhaled and oral glucocorticosteroids). What is worth emphasizing is symptomatic treatment in no case does it solve the problem of allergy itself, and only to some extent suppresses its symptoms.

On the other hand, when it comes to causal treatment, modern medicine has to offer so-called allergy sufferers desensitisation treatment, also called immunotherapy (this form of treatment can be used only after the age of 5 and is completely safe). It consists, in simplified terms, of "Accustoming" the body to a given allergen by its regular administration in increasing doses. This results, in a large number of cases, of complete or partial disappearance of allergy symptoms relative to the factor to which the patient was desensitized.

summarizing, allergy is a common disease and it significantly reduces the standard of living of a sick person. Fortunately, there are effective forms of causal treatment for it, which allows a large number of people function normally without the need to avoid a given sensitizer (this is especially important if you are allergic to pet dander, with which children often have a very strong emotional bond).

Bibliography:Pediatrics - Wanda Kawalec.