About seven percent of six to seven year old children and 15 percent of 13 to 14 year olds suffer from hay fever .They fight with sneezing fits, runny nose and itchy eyes during the pollen season. This not only affects playing outdoors. Hay fever children can also concentrate poorly at school. Therefore, school performance often deteriorates in the pollen season.
Early treatment is important
“Hay fever in children should not be taken lightly,” warns the chairman of the Society for Pediatric Allergology and Environmental Medicine (GPA), Professor Carl Peter Bauer from Gaißach. He advises early treatment with a pediatrician specializing in allergies : “Hay fever can turn into chronic asthma . Specialist therapy can prevent this.”
Hay fever often turns into asthma
The immune system of children with hay fever is hypersensitive to certain proteins from hazel, alder, birch or grass pollen. The result is an inflammatory reaction of the mucous membranes after contact with pollen, noticeable through swelling, redness, itching and secretion. In about every third child with hay fever, an allergic asthma with cough , wheezing and attacks of shortness of breath develop at some point .
The doctor calls this “floor change” because the allergy has risen from the nose to the bronchi down a floor. “The first sign of an onset of asthma is often a dry cough at night. At the latest when this alarm signal is given, a visit to the doctor is urgently required, “explains Bauer. Other typical symptoms of allergic asthma include wheezing, breathing and shortness of breath because the bronchial muscles cramp. The swollen mucous membrane and tough mucus in the airways make breathing more difficult ,
Proper therapy for hay fever
Even children with mild asthma need consistent therapy. Not only does this improve symptoms, it can also prevent asthma from getting worse or chronic over the years. Because attacks of allergic asthma are initially only caused by contact with allergy triggers, later, when the bronchial tissue is already damaged by the frequent inflammation , non-specific triggers such as cold, exertion, dust and irritants can also cause an asthma attack.
And: asthma can lead to death from acute shortness of breath. According to the Federal Statistical Office, around 1,800 people die from bronchial asthma in Germany every year. “This number is probably far too high. Asthma is often cited in death certificates as the cause of death, even if death has occurred due to heart failure, pulmonary embolism or another acute event,” says Professor Gerhard Schultze-Werninghaus, President of the German Lung Specialist and allergist Society for Allergology and Clinical Immunology (DGAKI) from Bochum, to consider. He estimates that only a few hundred people die of asthma in Germany every year. “The number of deaths from asthma has been declining for years.Cortisone for inhalation, “explains Schultze-Werninghaus.
Asthma in children
Although asthma therapy has made great strides, the frequency of children with asthma continues to increase: the proportion of children with asthma symptoms aged six to seven years increased from 9.6 percent to 12.8 percent between 1995 and 2000 , Every eighth child is affected. An increase in the frequency of asthma is also discussed for adolescents aged 13 to 14 years.
“In the study, the number of people affected with symptoms typical for asthma was recorded. However, a distinction must be made between permanent asthma and asthma symptoms that can also occur in the context of other diseases. Fortunately, not many adolescents are ill with chronic asthma,” says the pediatrician Bauer.
Children with hay fever to the specialist
For children with allergies, going to the specialist is inevitable. The child allergist first determines the allergy trigger based on the medical history and allergy tests, an important basis for successful treatment. “With the medicines available today, patients can be almost symptom-free – even in the pollen season,” says Bauer. For example, antihistamines block a messenger of allergic inflammation.
Modern preparations no longer make you tired – especially important for schoolchildren. With regular use, nasal sprays containing cortisone can also be of great help for hay fever. “The new cortisones only work in the nose and hardly get into the bloodstream. There is no longer any reason to fear side effects.” If symptoms persist, pediatrician Professor Bauer advises specific immunotherapy.
This “allergy vaccination” with molecularly standardized allergen preparations prevents further sensitization and is the only therapy that lowers the risk of changing floors, ie the expansion of allergy to bronchial asthma. Decisive for the success of treatment is the timely start of therapy. In children with hay fever or mild allergic asthma, permanent immunization can also be achieved with specific immunotherapy.