An allergy is when the body has a reaction to a protein such as foods, insect stings, pollens, house dust mite or other substances such as antibiotics. There are many common allergies. In some cases, avoiding the allergen which causes the reaction is the most effective way of managing an allergy.
Allergic symptoms affect the nose, throat, ears, eyes, airways, digestion and skin in mild, moderate or severe form. When a child first shows signs of an allergy it is not always clear what has caused the symptoms, or even if it is an allergic reaction, as some allergic symptoms can be similar to other common illnesses.
This can be one of the first symptoms of an allergic reaction. It appears as a raised, itchy rash on just one part of the body or spread across large areas. Your child may have had a reaction to:
It may go away in a few hours or days. If hives are particularly itchy or swollen, see your GP. Many allergies can be treated with over-the-counter medicines.
Many of these symptoms can develop as a result of other common childhood illnesses. With an allergy, symptoms often appear more quickly or suddenly.
Itchy eyes, watery eyes, prickly eyes, swollen eyes, ‘allergic shiners’ - dark areas under the eyes due to blocked sinuses.
Antihistamines are probably the best known type of allergy medication, and most are readily available from a pharmacy without prescription. While antihistamines used to have a reputation for making people drowsy, more modern antihistamines only occasionally have those side effects.
Nose, throat and ears
Runny nose, blocked nose, itchy nose, sneezing, pain in sinuses, headaches, post-nasal drip (mucus drips down the throat from behind the nose), loss of sense of smell and taste, sore throat, swollen larynx (voice box), itchy mouth and/or throat, blocked ear and glue ear.
Wheezy breathing, difficulty in breathing, coughing (especially at night time), shortness of breath.
Urticaria - Wheals or hives, bumpy, itchy raised areas, rashes.
Eczema - Cracked, dry or weepy, broken skin.
Swollen lips/tongue, stomach ache, feeling sick, vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea, bleeding from the bottom, reflux, poor growth.
Source: Allergy UK/2014
Anaphylaxis is a dangerous type of allergic reaction that is most likely to be caused by particular foods, insect bites or medicines.