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Ask Dr. Sue - Children with Allergies

by Susan S. Aronson, MD
January/February 2002
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/ask-dr.-sue-children-with-allergies/5014359/

The most common chronic condition is allergies. Around 15% of the population has some type of allergy. Among allergies, the most common type is nasal sensitivity - the runny, stuffy nose problem. Many children (70-80%) who have asthma also have allergies, although many more children have allergies than have asthma. When one parent has allergies, about one- fourth of the children will be allergic. If both parents have allergies, the risk is 60-70% that their children will have allergies. Since so many children have allergies, child care providers need to know as much as they can about this chronic illness.

What is an Allergy?

Allergies occur when the body's protective immune system works overtime - responding too vigorously to foreign materials that enter the body so that the body's usual defenses cause uncomfortable or even dangerous symptoms. Normally, the immune system is on a continuous search and destroy mission to get rid of infectious agents that enter the body. These body defenses will detect, surround, and respond to minimize the damage done by foreign materials that penetrate the skin and mucous membrane barriers. In an allergic reaction, these body defenses over-react to a relatively harmless foreign substance.

What Happens in an ...

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