An allergic march isn’t when your child gets the seasonal allergies in March. In fact, it isn’t related to a month at all. An allergic march refers how an allergy “marches” on in a child’s life, or how an allergy can progress through the various stages of growing up in a child’s life. What this simply means is that children who are prone to allergy may develop further allergies during their childhood. In some cases, the allergies may overlap and your child may suffer from more than one allergy at a time, or an allergy may subside as another begins.
In an allergic march, also known as an atopic march, your child may develop one set of allergies and symptoms in an order related to their age and development. While your child may pass through various allergies in stages, he or she may also have allergies and atopic diseases that overlap as they grow.
One example of allergic progression can be seen in the development of atopic dermatitis (eczema) to food allergy, and then allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and finally asthma. However, every child is different, and your child may have a different progression compared to other children.
Where Does It Come From?
Atopic diseases, or allergies, can be hereditary. For example, if both you and your partner have allergies, your child may be at a higher risk of allergy. If you happen to have an allergy, your child runs a 20-40% risk of developing an allergy as well. If both you and your spouse suffer from allergy, there’s a greater chance (50-80%) that your kid will too. Even if both parents do not have any allergies, your child will still have a risk of between 5-15% of developing an allergy. In short, every child will have a risk of developing allergies. 1-6
What can you do about it?
The risk of allergy may be reduced. The best outcome comes from an early diagnosis. As family history plays a crucial role in determining the risk of allergy, the first step, and perhaps the most fundamental, is to look into parental history. The Allergy Risk Tracker (ART) is one such method. To take the test, click here: http://ww2.nestle.com.my/swsw/art_tool.htm
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• Bergmann RL, Edenharter G, Bergmann KE et al. Predictability of early atopy by cord blood-IgE and parental history. Clin Exp Allergy 1997;27:752-760.
• Hays T and Wood RA. A Systematic Review of the Role of Hydrolyzed Infant Formulas in Allergy Prevention. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2005;159:810-816.
• Tariq SM, Matthews SM, Hakim EA et al. The prevalence of and risk factors for atopy in early childhood: A whole population birth cohort study. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1998;101:587-593.
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