WonderBaba

Healthcare by a Pharmacist mum!


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12 simple tips to protect your child from pollen!

Spring and summer can be a little frustrating because you want to encourage you child to be out doors but every time you do they are struck down by hay fever! Hay fever is more common in older children than babies with more boys being affected than girls interestingly.  To read my full blog on hay fever and its medical treatment you can click here or if you just want some top tips to help to avoid pollen then keep reading!

If you suspect hay fever the best thing to do is to limit your child’s exposure to the allergen pollen. This sounds simple, but once children are involved is anything actually easy?! Here’s some top tips to get you started!

  • met.ie-logo (2)Keep your child inside if the pollen count is above 50 or high.  To check the pollen count on any given day you can look up the MET Éireann website – http://www.met.ie/forecasts/pollen.asp
  • Let your child wear wrap-around sunglasses to stop the pollen from contacting their eyes.
  • Keep windows closed on days of a high pollen count. This one is hard because it’s often quite warm on these days but needs must!
  • Don’t hang your child’s clothes or bedding outside to dry as they may become covered in pollen which will cause irritation at night or during the day.
  • Don’t keep fresh flowers in the house (a good excuse for the men not to buy any!!)
  • Hoover regularly.
  • Dust with a damp cloth regularly.
  • If outdoors avoid areas where grass is being cut or has recently been cut.
  • Keep car windows closed when driving.
  • recirculated-airIf using the air conditioning in your car set it to re-circulate the air in the car instead of drawing in new air which may be heavy with pollen.
  • The best time to play outside is after a heavy down pour of rain – Irish weather comes in handy here! This is when the pollen count will be at its lowest.
  • Wash your child’s hands and face once you’ve finished playing outside to remove the pollen. Also change their clothes.

If you cannot get your child’s hay fever under control please do talk to me, your local Pharmacist or your GP.  Further information on the medical treatment of hay fever is available here!

cropped-websitefeetlogo.pngI hope you have found this article helpful and if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact me by sending a private message to the WonderBaba facebook page (www.facebook.com/wonderbabacare) or by calling me (Sheena) at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 on 012600262. I’m always happy to help!


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Antihistamines – A WonderBaba Guide!

Here is a little guide with everything you need to know about antihistamines!

Antihistamines are medicines that treat allergic conditions. They work by relieving symptoms rather than curing conditions.  They treat symptoms like itching, rash, hives, hay fever, runny eyes or nose due to allergy, irritation from bites or stings or even food allergies.

An oral antihistamine solution may be used if your child is over two years of age. Continue reading


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A WonderBaba Guide to Asthma in Children!

child-asthmaChildhood Asthma

Around 1 in 5 of Irish children are affected by asthma with boys being more likely to suffer than girls.  Happily the odds get a bit better with age but still approximately 1 in 10 adults are asthma patients  (470,000 people!) in Ireland.

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease which is often not diagnosed and unfortunately uncontrolled which can lead to ill health in children.  The early detection and treatment of asthma in kids is essential to reduce illness and complications and to increase the quality of life of those affected and their families. Illness from asthma can be mild and cause moderate inconvenience such as missed days from school, however it can also present in a more severe form which can be serious and potentially life threatening. Modern medicine makes asthma an extremely well controlled condition in those with appropriate action plans and I can’t stress enough how important it is to work with your child’s doctor to ensure you are keeping their condition as well controlled as possible – this proactive attitude will help your child to lead a ‘normal’ life and reduce the number of doctor and hospital visits necessary. Continue reading


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A WonderBaba Guide to Cows Milk Protein Allergy and Intolerance

What does it actually mean?question mark

Cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA) is an adverse immunological response to cow’s milk protein. Proteins found in cow’s milk are normally broken down by digestive enzymes into small peptides and amino acids – but when a baby has a cow’s milk protein allergy their gastrointestinal tract does not manage this effectively and the proteins cause an immunological response when they enter the gut tissues.  CMPA may be caused by two types of immunological response –  IgE-mediated or non-IgE mediated mechanisms or sometimes a combination or both.

An intolerance to cows milk is different to an allergy as whilst it can lead to a lot of discomfort it does not provoke an immune response.

milkCows milk allergy (CMA) or cows milk protein allergy (CMPA) is the most common food allergy diagnosed in young babies due to their heavy reliance on milk, exclusively for the first six months.  There is not always a known reason when a baby develops a CMPA but risk factors include a family history, asthma, and atopic dermatitis.

Cows milk protein allergy needs to be diagnosed by a doctor who may use a blood test to help with their clinical analysis.  Sometimes a blood test will come back negative as only one type of immunological response is possible to test for – IgE mediated.  So if your baby has a non-IgE mediated form of an immunological response to cows milk protein it will not show a positive blood test yet the condition is still present. You can see why it can be difficult to confirm CMPA and why it is important to visit your GP if your feel it is an issue for your child.

Children who suffer from an IgE mediated reaction can be very sensitive to very small amounts of cows milk protein.  Their symptoms tend to have a rapid onset of action, often within 20 minutes, but usually any time up to two hours. 5-6% of children in Ireland have some form of food allergy and the most common food which produce this type of immune response are milk, eggs, peanuts, nuts, fish and shellfish.  Most children out grow milk and egg allergies by the age of three but not peanut, treenut, fish or shellfish allergies.

Children who suffer from a non IgE mediated reaction or a mixed mediated reaction tend to display their symptoms with a more delayed response, for example more than 24 hours after exposure.  It is often dependant on how much cows milk protein they have been exposed to and so the effect can build up gradually.

 

So what symptoms are we talking about?mother and baby

Symptoms can vary from baby to baby and a child with CMPA may have just some or all of these symptoms.

Severe symptoms include:

  • Wheezing
  • Itching
  • Swelling of the lips
  • Red blotchy skin
  • Vomiting
  • Anaphylaxis (a severe reaction associated with lower respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms which requires emergency medical attention)  This type of reaction is possible but rare for CMPA.

 

Other Symptoms may include:

  • Reflux
  • eczema or rash
  • swelling around the eyes and/or lips
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Colic, wind, or tummy pain
  • Poor weight gain
  • Blood in stools
  • Upset or irritable baby
  • A baby unwilling to feed well
  • Coughing, sneezing and congestion

 

Diagnosis

As mentioned earlier a blood test may be performed to diagnose a CMPA.  As a blood test is only successful at identifying a  IgE mediated immune response it may be necessary to try a 2-4 week trial of elimination of cows milk to find out if your child is suffering from the non IgE mediated type of reaction.  This is something that should be suggested by your doctor. Information for both breastfeeding and bottle feeding mums will now be discussed.

 

breastfeedingBreastfeeding and CMPA

Exclusively breastfed infants have a lower incidence of CMPA – and actually it has been shown in one study that early formula top ups can actually increase the liklihood of a baby developing CMPA.  Mothers who suspect their breastfed baby has CMPA should continue to breastfeed and discuss a trial elimination of dairy products from their diet to see if there is an improvement.  Maternal elimination of dairy should only be undertaken if necessary so to avoid a calcium or other nutrient deficiency in the mother.  This should be undertaken with the guidance of your GP. If a trial elimination of dairy is recommended to you then a calcium supplement should be considered. If formula must be given to a breastfed baby it should be an extensively hydrolysed formula which is prescribed.  I would like to add at this point that whilst exclusive breastfeeding is best for your baby it is not always possible and I strongly believe that a happy mother and baby is the most important thing.  Society can be very pressuring nowadays and on a personal level I feel the most important thing is to be well informed and make the best decisions you can for you and your baby taking all of your personal circumstances into consideration. As a healthcare professional I am proud to stand in support of mums whether they are looking for advice for breast or bottle feeding and am lucky to have the absolute pleasure of lots of experience with both!

imageBottlefeeding and CMPA

Bottle fed babies will need a specialised hypoallergenic formula which should be prescribed by your doctor. These milks may smell or look different to normal formula but babies are much more willing to try them than grown ups! I found that offering a warm bottle in this case helped!  There are two main types which are suitable:

  1. EHF’s (Extensively hydrolysed formulas) – These are made from cows milk which has been specially treated so that the proteins are broken down and there is a greatly reduced risk of reaction. e.g Aptamil Pepti and Nutramigen
  2. AAF’s (Amino acid formulas) – These are not made from cows milk, they are made with amino acids. They are safe but more expensive. e.g Neocate
  • Soy is not recommended as 50% of babies with CMPA are also allergic to soy and there are also separate concerns about its oestrogenic activity.
  • Goats milk is not nutritionally suitable and can also cause a reaction.
  • Lactose Free milk contains cows milk protein and should be avoided.
  • Comfort and anti-reflux formulas contain CMP and should be avoided in the case of allergy also.

 

Weaning and CMPA

As you start to wean your baby onto solids from around six months of age and they have a CMPA then it is important to remember the following:

  • baby riceThe prescription milk or breast milk should be used when making up food – not any other form of milk.
  • You will need to read the labels of foods very carefully as many contain milk which may not be obvious initially such as some baby rice cereals and snacks.
  • Preparing food from scratch allows you the confidence of knowing what is in it but isn’t always possible.
  • If your baby is very sensitive to small amounts of CMP then wash their utensils separately and be careful to avoid cross contamination when preparing food.
  • Introduce one new food every three days to allow for identification of other food allergies or sensitivities.

 

I hope you have found this article helpful and if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact me by sending a private message to the WonderBaba facebook page (www.facebook.com/wonderbabacare) or by calling me (Sheena) at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 on 012600262. I’m always happy to help!

 

 

 

 


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Does your child have an allergy or medical condition? This will help!

Keeping your child safe from their allergy or highlighting their medical condition can be a challenge.. here’s a solution!Allermates-GRP-Stack-bands

Having a child with an allergy or medical condition comes with a whole array of worries for Mums and Dads.  As someone who grew up with a bad dairy allergy I can completely empathise with how hard it is to protect your child from the one thing (or many things!) which they can’t have and also how hard it is to ensure the  people who are involved in your child’s life understand and remember the importance of your child’s medical need.   I came across a product range recently in the pharmacy which struck me as incredibly useful and helpful in this instance and so wanted to share it with you in the hope your little one will suffer less as a result! Continue reading


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Hay Fever and Children

red hair - wonderbabaHay Fever and Children

Hay Fever is essentially an allergic reaction to pollen.  It can be triggered by pollen from trees, grass, or weeds.  Tree pollen tends to be released first usually in Spring and is usually due to Birch, Elder or Hazel trees.  Grass pollen is generally a little later during late Spring or early Summer and weed pollen can be released at any stage from early Spring to late Autumn. So really we are talking March to October! A person can be allergic to just one type of pollen or all types so the symptoms of hay fever and when they arrive can vary greatly from child to child.  Hay fever can also be caused by spores from mould or fungi. Continue reading