Sensitivities

This information is purely to allow a reader to identify or empathise with a child’s sensitivities they may want to know a little more about.  It is not intended to replace a consultation with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner.  

Sensitivities can affect the nose, throat, ears, eyes, airways, digestion and skin in mild, moderate or severe form. These symptoms can go largely unnoticed until a child has been suffering with the problem for some time.

The consequences of suffering with one, or several, of these symptoms every day can cause a child to struggle with their schooling and other general abilities. Concentration levels can be reduced from lack of sleep, or simply from having the symptoms.

It is not always easy to know what a child’s symptoms mean – maybe they simply seem a little run down, tired for no reason, have stomach ache or itchy skin.

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Certain foods can be triggers for sensitivities, especially in infants, but food is not necessarily he primary cause. If a food is found to make skin itchy or blotchy, excluding that food may significantly improve symptoms but not cure the condition. A food that is not eaten often but causes symptoms may be easier to identify than one that is eaten daily, such as milk/dairy products, wheat or soya.

Some children can experience psychological, developmental and behavioural effects because of their allergies as they believe they are ‘different’ from their peers. For instance, if glue-ear goes unnoticed it may mean a child does not learn as well as they cannot hear their teacher. They may become frustrated, feel left out and become quiet and withdrawn as they cannot follow what is going on around them as easily.

As far as headaches and stomach aches are concerned, dehydration is a key factor as is skipping food at key times, such as lunch at school both of which cause blood sugar to drop. However, they can also occur because of a body’s intolerance to certain allergens and a child’s diet. If a child complains of tummy pain and seems unwell, perhaps has a fever, is vomiting, has diarrhoea, is not wanting to drink or eat and not wanting to do things that she or he normally enjoys (such as playing), that child is likely to have an illness.

Research has shown that up to 10% of children have abdominal pain which comes and goes.  Sometimes a child will complain of a stomach ache or headache if they are having a difficult time – perhaps at home or at school – but are showing no other signs and don’t seem to be stressed or unwell.   Try to monitor the frequency and/or circumstances to determine cause and effect.

Sensitivities can affect any system of the body including the central nervous system. They can cause a diverse range of symptoms including fatigue, slowed thought processes, irritability, agitation, aggressive behaviour, nervousness and anxiety.  These types of symptoms can be caused by a variety of substances in susceptible children, though many have reactions to common foods and/or food additives.

If your child is showing signs of being sensitive to certain things, you should seek the advice of a doctor or other suitably qualified professional.

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