Did you know that nearly 30% of children in the United States have some form of allergy and that the rate of allergic disease in children is on the rise?
I found this fact quite interesting – and troubling – as I read this article about childhood allergies. What is even more interesting is that the progression of allergic disease in children appears to follow a predictable pattern called the Allergic March.
It goes like this – first it starts with dermatitis (eczema), then to chronic gastrointestinal (GI) issues, then to chronic serous otitis media (ear infections), then to chronic rhinitis (stuffy nose) and finally to asthma.
The problem is that allergic disease doesn’t have a cure, and that is why, prevention is the only smart choice. It helps to know that the pattern of allergic disease is predictable, which is why, early signs of allergic symptoms like eczema and food allergy or sensitivity should be considered seriously.
Most babies in their first 1-2 years of life show sings of food sensitivity to certain foods such as egg, dairy, soy, rice and wheat. This is because their young immune systems are yet to mature and sometimes they get confused by different proteins in these foods. Good news is that, most children do grow out of these early issues by the time they reach age 5.
The news is not so good if there is a family history of allergy, which is why getting to know the allergic march is quite important. If either mom or dad – or both – have a history of allergy, the chances of their child developing an allergy can be as high as 50 -80%. If not diagnosed and prevented early, the allergic march is likely inevitable.
We have been interested in food allergy here on Littlestomaks, because it affects so many babies and toddlers. Although there is no reason to hit the panic button over a few episodes of vomiting and reflux, it is prudent to take them seriously when allergy runs in the family. Same goes for ear infections, which again are quite common in children. A link between milk allergy and ear infections, for example, is being reported in many cases. Talk to your doctor about the history of allergy in your family on a routine visit to treat an ear infection. For all you know, it might be the first step on the allergic march, which you can avoid with early intervention.
Here are a few nice links for more information:
Do you have a child with food allergies? Share your story, we would love to hear from you!