My 3 1/2 year old daughter and my almost 2 year old daughter have major allergies and it’s as if something new becomes an irritant weekly! My youngest is always stuffed up (not runny nosed, just some sort of something plugging her tiny nose) and I have had to suction her nose at least once a day her entire life thus far. (I’m only guessing that perhaps something in the air triggers that) She has an allergy to the protein in dairy as well as an exzema reation to eggs. My oldest gets an eczema rash from eggs, but most of her allergies come from the air. The past two mornings, her little eyes have been so swollen and pink and she itches them like crazy. The pharmacist has recommended benadryl in the past and the swelling went down quickly, but I would like to find a natural remedy if one exists. I just purchased an air purifier this afternoon as well as using the air conditioner (advice from an auntie) to filter the air a little, but that’s all I’ve got.
Basically, allergies are new to me and I feel like I can control the baby’s diet, but I can’t control the pollen and the fireplaces and what-not for the big girl. Help! It’s so terribly unfair for children to hurt. Any and all advice will be appreciated.
Thank you so much for your time.
I understand your frustration with this difficult issue! Unfortunately, it is very common these days to have children present to my clinic with allergies and they all create confusion, frustration and distress for the families! The immune system is a very complex system in the body with a very delicate balance which can be disrupted if not properly trained and supported. Luckily, that’s where an ND comes in!
A strong, healthy immune system is one who can decipher between threatening and non-threatening substances – it can decide correctly when to react and when to relax. The two main types of allergic reactions my patients present with are:
1) IgE – When you have an IgE reaction, it is a Type I immediate hypersensitivity reaction, and the effects of this antibody are symptoms like swelling, sneezing, itching skin and eyes, rash, swollen lips, eyelids and airways, etc.
2) IgG – When you have an IgG reaction, you may not realize you’re even having a reaction. It can take hours (or even days!) to mount an IgG response to a noticeable level. That’s why an IgG response is called a Type III delayed hypersensitivity reaction, and is often commonly referred to as a “sensitivity” as apposed to an “allergy”. Symptoms for IgG sensitivities are so varied, it’s hard to definitively identify them. You will see chronic subtle symptoms such as headaches, chronic respiratory concerns (like asthma), skin conditions (most commonly eczema), joint pain, diarrhea and/or constipation, and impaired immune system due to the increased inflammation – just to name a few!
Sometimes, the problem may be one of these, a combination of these, or none of these at all! Your daughter’s reaction to eggs and dairy protein are most likely IgG mediated, so it wouldn’t surprise me if her itchy eyes and stuffy nose were other IgG sensitivity type reactions. As always, see an ND in person to figure out your child’s’ specific cases, but the most common causes of hypersensitivities I see in my practice are:
1) the immune system is stimulated too early. Vaccinations, by nature, are stimulating to the immune system, and are typically given at a time when the baby’s immune system is too immature to know how to have an appropriate response. So, although some children may have no reaction at all to vaccines, other children with a certain predisposition may end up with a hyper-reactive immune system because they were stimulated too early and without adequate support.
2) the immune system is immature. A robust immune system is honed from a young age, it is something that takes time to acquire and develop. Certain social practices have created limited and immature immune systems.
3) the immune system is overloaded with perceived allergens. For example, a child with a gluten intolerance who eats wheat every day. Or a child who is sensitive to dairy but regularly drinks cow’s milk. Both of these children will present with symptoms because their bodies are overloaded with the offending allergen.
4) genetics. If the parents have sensitivities or allergies, it is possible that their child will as well.
In all of these cases, the immune system needs to be supported. Fortunately there are ways to reduce the burden on the overwhelmed immune system, calm the over-stimulated immune system, and re-train the hyper-reactive immune system to react properly to true allergens.
Visit back next week for four specific ways to help relieve the burden from your child’s immune system!
Until next week!
In health and happiness –
Have a question for Dr. Corinne? Send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and your question will be answered here. These suggestions are not intended to provide diagnosis or substitute a private consultation with your healthcare practitioner.
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