Although allergies are commonly associated with spring, there are many triggering factors for allergies to flare up during the hot summer months. Prof. Dr. Hülya Ercan Sarıçoban, Pediatric Allergy and Immunology Specialist at Yeditepe University Kozyatağı Hospital, explained that during the summer months, skin-related allergies are most common, and hay fever and summer allergies also affect children's lives. She pointed out that besides pollen, sun and chlorine are also significant triggers.
Studies indicate that by the year 2050, one in every two individuals will have an allergic predisposition. In our country, it is known that 20% of the total population has allergic rhinitis, asthma, food allergies, and other allergic diseases. Pollen allergies, one of the most common triggering factors, are seen more as a problem for older children and teenagers. However, there is no age limit for skin and insect allergies. Yeditepe University Kozyatağı Hospital's Pediatric Allergy and Immunology Specialist, Prof. Dr. Hülya Ercan Sarıçoban, emphasizes the significant role of genetics in the development of allergies, along with environmental factors. According to statistics, if one parent is allergic, the likelihood of the child being allergic is 40%, and if both parents are allergic, it can increase to 60%.
However, allergies can also occur in children whose parents are not allergic. Prof. Dr. Hülya Ercan Sarıçoban says that the most significant reason for this is the lifestyle, pointing out that living in more sterile conditions, consuming more industrial products, and using more cleaning agents increase the occurrence of allergic diseases.
Pollen Allergy Lasts Throughout the Summer
Reactions caused by meadow and grass pollens typically begin in the late spring and continue throughout the summer. Prof. Dr. Hülya Ercan Sarıçoban, explaining that nasal discharge is the first sign in children with pollen allergies, continues as follows: "Children with pollen allergies experience clear, difficult-to-stop nasal and postnasal drip. Itchy nose and consecutive sneezing are also observed. This is a typical allergic rhinitis known colloquially as hay fever or summer cold. Similar reactions can also occur in the eyes. Conjunctivitis, often associated with hay fever, manifests with redness, stinging, itching, and watering of the eyes. Constantly scratching the eyes with hands can lead to infection. If not attended to, it can turn into infectious conjunctivitis. Families should be careful not to confuse the observed discharge during this period with a common cold."
Sun and Chlorine Affect the Skin
Remind that there is an increase in skin allergies in the summer months, Prof. Dr. Hülya Ercan Sarıçoban pointed out that sun and chlorine can be as effective as pollens in this regard and gave the following information about the symptoms: "The first symptom of skin allergy is itching. A swelling begins with itching. Redness, swelling, and sometimes burns can occur in areas touched by the sun. These symptoms can sometimes occur due to the chlorine used in pools."
Beware of Insects!
Along with the hot weather, insect allergies are more common in the summer months. Insect bites are often not noticeable. The most distinctive feature is their sequential progression, and they are generally seen on exposed areas of the body such as arms, legs, and face.
Among insect bites, the reaction most pronounced and considered the most dangerous is bee allergies. Prof. Dr. Sarıçoban says, "Not only can a bee sting cause redness and swelling at the site, but it can also lead to an allergic reaction called 'anaphylactic shock,' which can manifest as sudden shortness of breath, loss of consciousness, vomiting, and other reactions. Although other insect bites may not be as severe as bee stings, they can still cause exaggerated reactions on the skin. These reactions may spread along with itching.
Food Allergies are Increasing in Summer
The increase in outdoor activities, visits to holiday destinations, and consequently, eating out more often, require more attention to food allergies. Prof. Dr. Hülya Ercan Sarıçoban, who states that the prevalence of food allergies was around 1-2% in the past, mentions that this rate has risen to around 10% today. She emphasizes the importance of parents being vigilant in minimizing the potential risks of allergies when children are offered food and drinks in parks, gardens, and beaches. Children may not be knowledgeable or old enough to perceive these risks.
In allergic diseases, diagnosis can be made with allergy tests. Skin, puncture (prick), and patch tests or specific blood tests can be performed to determine the causative agent of the allergy. If necessary, loading tests are applied. Emphasizing the importance of taking precautions and avoiding allergens before treatment for allergies, especially during the summer months, Yeditepe University Hospital Pediatric Allergy and Immunology Specialist Prof. Dr. Hülya Ercan Sarıçoban continued: "If the precautions taken are insufficient, allergy medications such as antihistamines, which prevent itching and sneezing, and eye and nose drops should be used. In cases where pollen and bee allergies cannot be controlled with medication, we also recommend immunotherapy (İmmünoterapi) for suitable patients. In immunotherapy, we provide treatment to eliminate or reduce the amount of medication used for allergies. This gives us an advantage. In short, we apply step-by-step personalized treatments.
To protect children from summer allergies
• Children should not be taken to chlorinated pools as much as possible. If they have entered the pool, they should be encouraged to take a shower immediately.
• Sunscreen should be used for children with sun allergy. Additionally, long-sleeved and lightweight clothing should be chosen. Sunglasses and a brimmed hat should be worn.
• To protect children from pollen allergies, avoid taking them to areas with grass and trees during the pollen season. If possible, use air purifiers at home, and keep windows and balcony doors closed in your child's room during peak pollen release hours..
• To protect children from insect and mosquito bites, use mosquito nets on their beds and use mosquito-repellent tablets plugged into outlets.
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