ALLERGIES, CHILDREN’S HEALTH
Minimising Childhood Allergies
Natasha Evans, Naturopath, Bacchus Marsh
27th August 2016
Australia has one of the highest rates of asthma, atopic eczema and allergic rhinitis in the developed world. Whilst there are many studies looking at the cause of this, most of the treatment is focused on managing the symptoms, once these allergic disorders are well established.
This usually involves corticosteroid based anti-inflammatory oral medications, inhalers, topical creams and anti-histamine medications. Whilst these medications are essential, and work very well to stop/prevent an asthma attack or reduce a bad eczema rash, they are simply removing the inflammation, but never support the body and immune system to naturally reduce the frequency and magnitude of further attacks. Whilst lifesaving, these medications do not have the ability to prevent the progressive worsening of the allergic condition when it first arises.
Springtime. A wonderful time of year unless you have hayfever.
The development of allergy is usually hereditary. Therefore, if there is eczema, hay fever or asthma on either side of the family, it is possible to pass this on to your children. Knowing this, once the baby is born there are some simple ways to assess the presence of allergy, or the potential for allergy development.
“If the baby has an allergic family history (allergy on either Mum or Dads side of family) then breast feeding for at least the first 6 months of life can reduce the development of allergy in the child.”
If the baby has an allergic family history (allergy on either Mum or Dads side of family) then breast feeding for at least the first 6 months of life can reduce the development of allergy in the child. Therefore, if the baby is unable to be breast fed this will increase the chance of the baby developing an allergic condition. The reason that breast milk is so protective is the immunoglobulin’s that are passed on to the baby from its mother, which help develop the immature immune system of the baby.
Some other signs of allergy in a baby are as follows:
- Colic and pain, difficult digestion, arching back
- Dark circles under the eyes, puffy eyes
- Constant ear infections
- Vomiting or posseting (being sick)
- Bloated, or distended stomach
- Eczema or a red rash on the skin
- Difficulty breathing
- Presence of mucous, when there is no illness
Natural therapies can help to bolster a child’s immunity.
From these early signs can develop atopic eczema, hay fever, and asthma alike.
The natural approach to treating allergy in babies starts with their immune system. The immune system in babies with allergies is underactive and needs a bit of help to balance it and correct its’ function. This can be achieved using probiotics which ensure the correct microbial flora in the child’s gastrointestinal system.
The next step is specific vitamin and mineral supplementation to gently assist the body to overcome these early signs of allergy and recover. Particular supplements will be chosen depending on the child’s presentation and diet, or maternal diet. If the allergy is atopic dermatitis then a herbal cream is made up to apply topically.
Finally, homoeopathics may be used to assist any discomfort the child may be having such as itchy red skin, pain, colic, irritability, nightmares, insomnia etc.
The natural approach works by gradually building the baby, or child’s natural immunologic ability, from several angles ( immune, vitamin/mineral deficiency, mental/emotional) so that the body can hopefully eradicate the symptoms altogether or at least reduce the severity and frequency of attacks.
Treating babies and children is such a joy, because they are so vital and responsive to treatment. Their bodies know what to do, we just need to provide them with a few of the raw materials, and they will heal themselves!
For further information; http://www.allergy.org.au/
(Australasian society for clinical immunology and allergy. This site has downloadable action plans for asthma, information about allergies and strategies to minimize their effect on health)