Fall has arrived with a violent sneeze. Fall allergies are more common than you might think. Children are in a new school environment, which gives them more to sneeze at. Plus, there are new pollen, stirred up dust mites and accumulated molds that come with the season. Allergies bloom in kids just when you think they're safe. Here are the five most common fall allergies to watch for in your children.
- Ragweed. Ragweed is easily the biggest culprit when it comes to fall allergies in children and adults alike. Ragweed pollinates in August and continues for well over a month. The pollen from ragweed can travel long distances, so even if none is nearby, your children can be at risk. If your child suffers from fall allergies, ragweed is the number one suspect.
- Mold. Mold can accumulate under piles of wet leaves or in damp areas of the home. Children with allergies spend more time indoors during the fall season. That makes them highly susceptible to mold and other indoor allergens. Tumbling in that pile of leaves as part of autumn outdoor fun could bring on an allergic reaction as well.
- Dust Mites. The dust bunnies are back and they're creating havoc with your child's allergies. After spring cleaning, the dust bunnies settle down. Accumulation through the summer months bring them back in the fall. Running the forced air furnace can do it too. Whether your child is at school, or at home, spending more time among the dust bunnies could have dust mite allergies kicking in.
- Food Allergies. Back to school means back to school lunches. Children with allergies may forget about those foods they're supposed to avoid when in school. Some kids will even eat foods they know cause a reaction just to fit in with friends. Some may do it absentmindedly too. Be sure to make the lunch staff aware of your child's food allergies.
- Trees. There are certain trees that pollinate in the fall. One of these is a type of sumac tree. You will see big bunches of pollen literally dripping from it's branches in the autumn months. When that pollen drops and spreads itself around, be sure to have plenty of children's allergy medicine in stock.
In a small initial study conducted by PhD researchers and doctors of Finland's University of Turku, child and pet comingling increases the likelihood of animal gut bacteria transfer, which will then help increase the immunity of the child against different types of allergens, including pet dander. Pet dander is considered as one of the most common triggers of allergy diseases. It contains a protein from the dried saliva of dogs and cats that causes the immune system to overreact that can result to the appearance of allergy symptoms.
For the study, Dr. Merja Nermes, one of the authors, and her colleagues wanted to determine the extent of the effects of pet exposure to a child's immune system using an ongoing probiotic study participated by pregnant women who have allergy history. Allergies are assumed to have a genetic predisposition. Children who are born to parents who have allergies are at least 50% likely to develop the condition as well.
Among the pool of participants, they selected 51 women with infants and pets and 64 who have babies but no pets to serve as the control group.
The babies in both groups underwent two types of tests at different times. When they were one month, their DNA was tested for presence of the animal gut bacteria, specifically B. pseudolongnum and B thermophium, using the fecal sample from diapers. When analyzed, 33% of the first group had tested positive of the bacteria while around 14% of the control group had them, although it's unclear how they had obtained the bacteria.
When they turned half year, the researchers conducted a skin prick test to find out which allergies the babies are prone to. More than 15 of the babies had allergic reactions, but for those with B. thermophilum, they didn't have any.
Although the study doesn't say if the protection extends until way later in life, it's clear that parents should not stop themselves having pets at home while the child is still a baby.
In an another earlier study, farm dust can help control or prevent allergy symptoms and asthma as the protein present in it can make the mucus in the lungs to become less sensitive to allergens.