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According to Allergy UK – half of all children in UK and Ireland are now affected by allergies. When we have babies, allergies and reducing exposure is something that we need to consider.
An allergy is an immune reaction to a substance in the environment called an allergen. The most common allergens are food, drugs, animals, dust mites, mould and pollen. Allergies can cause respiratory symptoms like asthma, skin symptoms such as eczema as well as intestinal problems also.
Signs of an Allergy
– A cold that won’t seem to go away
– A persistent dry cough
– Irritated red, broken or itchy skin
– Dry red itchy eyes
– Constant sneezing
Reducing Exposure to Allergens
1. Dust mites
– Wash bedding regularly
– Avoid piling stuffed animals on your little one’s bed and try to wash their favourite cuddly toy weekly
– Dust and vacuum weekly -more often If possible.
– Consider replacing carpets with wooden or tiled floors. This is much better for babys respiratory system however slippery floor surfaces can have an impact on baby development as it discourages the crawling movement. Our Easy Grip Crawl Suit was designed for this purpose – to provide traction for babies learning how to crawl on wooden and tile floors. Crawling is a vital developmental milestone and the Crawl Suit gives baby the confidence to get moving.
To reduce exposure to pets dander it is important that pets are washed regularly with specialist shampoo.
It can be almost impossible to reduce contact with airborne pollens. If your little one is allergic reduce time spent outside during pollen season. To help you could bathe and wash your childs hair each night. Dry her clothes indoors or in the dryer rather than on the clothes line
Ventilation is key especially in summer months or in warm humid climates. If this is a concern consider using a humidifier and air conditioning.
Medication is available to treat allergies but always consult your doctor and never give your little one over the counter medication without advise from pharmacist or doctor.
Immunisation is a simple, safe and effective way of protecting your baby against disease. It is believed that because of vaccines childhood illnesses that were once common are now virtually gone.
How does it work?
When your baby is given a vaccine their body responds by producing antibodies to fight this. These antibodies then destroy the vaccine and stay in your baby’s body to protect from the disease in the future.
Vaccines teach the immune system to fend off life threatening diseases. They use tiny amounts of the weakened or inactive viruses and bacteria and this teaches baby’s immune system how to recognise and fight off specific infections.
How long until the vaccine takes effect?
It can sometimes take a couple of weeks for the vaccine to take effect so your baby is not protected immediately after they have had their shot. Most vaccines require extra doses which improve the antibody response and help build a stronger immune system.
What diseases can be prevented?
Vaccines can protect from a number of diseases such as, measles, chicken pox, whooping cough, polio, rubella, mumps and hepatitis b.
How can I ease the pain for my baby?
According to Anna Taddio PhD, A Professor of Pharmacy at The University of Toronto, comfort, a sweet taste and sucking is the best way to reduce pain. We would suggest making sure your is comfortable eg on your lap with a bottle or a pacifier. You could also try to distract baby with favourite toy etc
When is best to Vaccinate my baby
We suggest getting your baby vaccinated on schedule to give them the best protection. The schedule for vaccines is always changing as they are continually adding more but your midwife/ GP will give you all the information you need.
Where can I find more information on Vaccines and the schedule?
Here are some links to government health advice and information.
After your baby has been given a shot, aftercare is key. A lot of TLC will be needed as it can be unpleasant for them.
There can be some illness after receiving a vaccine eg temperature and some redness but if the illness persists or you are concerned always contact your doctor.
Don’t forget to ask for copy of vaccinations that your baby has had so that you can keep a record.