Health and safety

Allergy in children

By Lana de Ridder

The causes and treatment of children's allergies.


Did you know?

1 out of 3 infants & children with eczema have underlying allergies that have not yet been diagnosed.

1 out of 3 preschool & 2 out of 3 school children with recurring wheezing/coughing have an undiagnosed allergy.

Up to 7 out of 10 children with seasonal & perennial rhinitis have allergies that have not been diagnosed.

What is Allergy?

Allergy is used to describe a response, within your child's body, to a substance (food, environment), which is not necessarily harmful in itself, but results in an immune response and a reaction that causes symptoms and disease in your children.

Is your baby allergic or not?

Do you or your children suffer from symptoms such as congestion, sneezing, coughing, itchy-watery eyes or stomach pains? Does your child have dry skin or get ear infections? Do these symptoms affect your child’s sleep, eating, mood and attitude?

Many common illnesses that display symptoms commonly associated with allergy have quite different origins and, therefore, different treatments. A simple blood sample can help you see whether or not these symptoms are actually due to allergy. What’s more, this will ‘confirm or exclude allergy as the cause.

Why test your baby?
There are many scientifically proven reasons that show why it is important to test your baby.

Avoid unnecessary or inefficient medication

Infection or allergy? A blood test, together with a physical examination, will help you avoid unnecessary medication that is being prescribed for your child’s symptoms, such as antihistamines or antibiotics and ensure that you get appropriate treatment.

Rule out allergy

Many people believe they are allergic to food, but only a few are. If you think you or your child has food allergies, do not try to manage the problem yourself by removing too many foods from your diet. A blood test can help your doctor see whether or not the symptoms are actually due to allergy.

Allergy is not all about family history

Allergy in the family increases your risk of being allergic. However, the majority of allergic children have non-allergic parents.

Identify your allergy triggers

What may seem as the obvious allergy trigger may just be the "tip of the iceberg". Since most people are allergic to more than one trigger, it is important to identify those that contribute to your symptoms for best symptom relief. In addition, the more provoking triggers, the greater the risk for severe allergy symptoms.

Sensitivity to allergens may change over time

Testing once in a life time is not enough. Sometimes your allergy symptoms disappear, sometimes it may progress into more severe conditions. Depending on changes in symptoms and in your environment, testing regularly increases the possibility to improve your health and quality of life.

Signs to look for in your baby:



  • Dry Skin
  • Itchy Skin
  • Infant acne / Hives
  • Skin Rash

Common triggers in babies:

  • Food, the 6 main foods babies are introduced to - Egg, Milk, Fish, Wheat, Peanut & Soya
  • House Dust Mite
  • Pets, Cat, Dog, Rabbit

Eczema in brief

Eczema is a condition that affects both children and adults. Most commonly it appears during the early years of childhood. Young children will often present with eczema on their cheeks, torso and/or joints of the arms and legs.

Hay – Fever (rhinitis)


  • Blocked up nose
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Itchy Nose
  • Runny Nose
  • Itchy Red Eyes
  • Weeping Eyes

Common Triggers:

  • Pollens- tree, weeds, grass
  • House Dust Mite
  • Pets, Cats, Dogs, Rabbits
  • Cockroach

Hay-Fever (Rhinitis) in Brief
Hay fever or allergic rhinitis is an extremely common illness that is often mistaken for an ordinary cold. However, rhinitis may develop into more severe problems such as asthma. Recurring or drawn-out symptoms should always be investigated.

Your baby CAN be tested regardless of

  • Age
  • Symptom
  • Disease activity and/or severity
  • Anti-histamine medication

Test to Know!

There are many infants with an undiagnosed allergy and parents are not aware of how much better their little ones can feel once their symptoms are properly diagnosed and managed.

If you suspect allergies as a cause to your own or your child’s symptoms you should always consult a physician and get a proper diagnosis.

Remember World Allergy week is 4th to 11th April 2011



About the author:

Lana de Ridder
Laboratory Specialities (Pty) Ltd
A Phadia Company

Tel: 011 792 6790/1/2/3
Fax: 011 793 5337 / 1064

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