The number of allergy sufferers around is growing every year, so that soon, perhaps, a child without allergies can be seen as an exception to the general rule. Pediatrician, pulmonologist, allergist-immunologist, assistant of the Department of Children’s Diseases of Sechenov University, Candidate of Medical Sciences Irina Farber told aif.ru about the most common myths about allergies, as well as whether it can be prevented, whether it is harmful to use antihistamines, and what outdated tips should be forgotten forever
Myth number 1. To prevent a child from becoming allergic, the house must be sterile. And, of course, where the baby lives, there should be no pets.
In fact. The benefit of sterility is questionable. Of course, no one argues with the fact that it is necessary to carry out wet cleaning – after all, dust carries allergens, but it’s still not worth it to create a microbiological environment close to the operating room around the newborn. And although some experts are still of the opinion that it is best to isolate yourself from all potential allergens already during pregnancy in order to avoid allergies in the baby in the future, modern allergist-immunologists adhere to the opposite position. To reduce the risk of developing an allergy, the child must be in contact with a potential allergen, because in this way non-specific sensitization occurs. Moreover, it is better that addiction occurs already at the stage of pregnancy: then the mother’s body will produce antibodies to animal antigens, which will be transmitted to the fetus. Thus, by the time of birth, the risk of developing allergies will already decrease in the child. Therefore, in anticipation of childbirth, there is no need to preventively get rid of pets in the house. Let’s not forget that pets have a positive effect on children from a psychological point of view. In addition, despite the parents’ fear of microbes that animals “spread”, pets in the house bring more benefit to the child and his immunity than harm – an overly sterile environment often contributes to the development of allergies.
Myth number 2. The expectant mother should eliminate all potential allergens from her diet. Well, during feeding – even more so.
In fact. Quite the opposite: the more varied the mother’s diet during pregnancy, the lower the risk of developing allergies in the baby, but, of course, everything should be in moderation – there is no need to eat a kilogram of oranges and strawberries in one sitting. Nutrition must be balanced. As for the nutrition of a nursing woman, the connection between the use of potential allergens in food and the development of allergic rhinitis and bronchial asthma in a child has not been proven. And a strict diet with the exception of everything and everything that a nursing mother adheres to, as observations have shown, has practically no effect on a skin rash in a child. However, an attentive mother can herself notice that the child reacts to one or another product she has eaten. In this case, she can simply temporarily exclude such a product from the diet.
Myth number 3. Until the age of three, a child should not be given any fruits and sweets. Then there will be no allergies.
In fact. There is no allergy to sugar and fructose, but there is such a thing as sugar intolerance. This phenomenon is not associated with the reaction of the immune system, but is a consequence of difficulties in the digestion of sugar-containing foods. With intolerance to sugar (including lactose – milk sugar), the baby may experience bloating, discomfort, flatulence, diarrhea.
In addition, a pseudo-allergic reaction to the components of sweets, such as dyes and preservatives, may occur. This reaction manifests itself in the form of itching and redness of the skin – however, this has nothing to do with allergies. Symptoms can be relieved with the help of special cosmetic creams, for example, lysoderm, sudocrem, bepanthenol. Well, besides, allergies can be not only food.
Myth #4: Children with allergies get sick more often than everyone else.
In fact. But this is the pure truth. If a child has an allergy, it is necessary to pay special attention to the prevention of colds, especially seasonal ones, since they are more prone to respiratory infections. This is especially true for the period of exacerbation of allergies. However, this does not mean that the immune system cannot resist viruses at all; as a rule, allergy sufferers are no more severe than all other children.
Myth number 5. Allergies are a contraindication for vaccination.
In fact. Allergy to chicken protein, which may be part of the vaccine, as well as allergy to any other component of the vaccine, are indeed obstacles to vaccination. But these types of allergies are extremely rare. In general, allergies are not a contraindication for vaccination. It is important that there is no exacerbation at the time of immunization. But after the condition is stabilized, it is possible and necessary to plan the introduction of the vaccine.
Myth No. 6. Allergy medicines have a huge number of side effects, and can harm the body. Better to do without them.
In fact. Leaving allergies unattended is very dangerous, because it progresses, and not only significantly worsens the quality of life, but can lead the patient to life-threatening conditions, such as Quincke’s edema, for example. Therefore, you still need to be treated. Antihistamines today are represented by means of the first and second generations. Second-generation products are safer for long-term use and can be used for many years if medically justified.