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Spring is the time to play in the open air, but there are many children who suffer from allergic reactions. Here are some suggestions to counteract sneezing and red eyes.

 

Summer arrives and, with the increase in temperatures, the wind and the dry climate, spring allergiesinevitably occur, with their threat of affecting the outdoor games of our children in a succession of sneezes and red eyes.
According to experts from the Italian Society of Allergology and Paediatric Immunology (SIAIP), one in three children suffers from allergies, with numbers on the rise, which see respiratory allergies in first place for incidence, followed by food allergies.

The most common signs of spring allergies

First of all, when we talk about spring allergies , we are referring to an anomalous response from our immune systemtriggered by contact with harmless agents present in the external environment (pollen and domestic dust).
Pollinosis and nasal allergies are widespread in children, caused by the flowering and release of pollen from certain plants such as cypresses, mimosas, olive trees and graminaceae. The concentration of pollen is higher in the months between March and July, although, in recent years, there has been a progressive lengthening of the seasonality.

In predisposed children, the first signs of allergic responses are similar to the common coldsymptoms:

  • Headaches;
  • Closely spaced repeated sneezing and itchy nose;
  • Swollen eyes and excessive tearing;
  • Itching and redness in the eyes.

According to some surveys, the arrival of spring allergies is associated with a decline in school performance of children and young people, who, in the most critical period, risk sleeping little and badly and therefore having more difficulty in concentrating.
In any case, it is always a good idea to consult your paediatrician, who will recommend an allergist whom you can approach to for a specific skin test. The prick test is a quick and easy way to find out which allergens your child is sensitive to.
But how can we help our children to defend themselves from spring allergies on a daily basis?

A pollen handbook

To deal with the drawbacks of spring allergies, sometimes it is enough to follow a few but effective measures, which can help to counteract the most unpleasant symptoms.
Below is a short handbook with some useful tips:

  1. For children suffering from pollen allergies it is very useful to consult the pollen calendar. In this way it will be possible to adopt a correct preventive program.
  2. In the home, keep windows closed in the bedroom during the months of maximum pollen presence in the air and perhaps use specific air conditioners with pollen filters.
  3. If you take your child out into the open air, avoid meadows and cultivated fields, as well as trips to the countryside where the concentration of pollen increases significantly.
  4. If you notice the first signs of eye irritation, protect children from the sun’s rays. In this case, sunglasses will be a valuable ally.
  5. Make sure that your child does not touch his or her eyes with his or her hands, even if he or she feels itchy, so that he or she is protected from small traumas to the cornea.
  6. As soon as you return home, change the children and wash them so that the pollen does not settle on the pillow and disturb them in their sleep.

Finally, in case of allergic conjunctivitis, you can help your children with a thorough cleaning of the area around the eye through the use of disposable wipes with cleansing, wetting and soothing action, specifically designed to promote the protection of the eyes of children.

Although in other countries such as Australia and New Zealand they have been known for more than 20 years, goats’ milk-based infant formulas have only recently been introduced to the Italian market. Also due to a not particularly extensive scientific bibliography, theproperties of goats’ milk in the paediatric context are still little known to the general public.

A new alternative for the infant formula market

The September issue of the scientific journal Mondo Pediatrico saw publication of the article entitled “All about goats’ milk as a basis for infant formulas”, written by Prof. Andrea Vania, Head of the Centre for Dietetics and Paediatric Nutrition of the University of Rome Sapienza, in collaboration with Dr. Roberta Mercurio, specialist in Food Science of La Sapienza. The article aims to investigate the nutritional characteristics of goats’ milk, comparing it with cows’ and mother’s milk.

Based on the assumption that breastfeeding remains the best source of nutrition for infants, EFSA (the European Food Safety Authority) considers goats’ milk as an adequate source of protein for the preparation of infant formulas, whether they are starter, follow-on, or growing-up formulas.

Differences between goats’ milk and cows’ milk

The main part of the article is dedicated to the comparison between goats’ milk and cows’ milk. In terms of protein composition, goats’ milk has a higher concentration of proteins. The high lactose content promotes the absorption of calcium, phosphate, magnesium and vitamin D. Moreover, thanks to its oligosaccharide content, the prebiotic activity of goats’ milk is more similar to that of breast milk.
Another fundamental aspect that human and goats’ milk have in common is the mode of secretion: indeed apocrine secretion releases nucleotides and free amino acids, which are scarce in cows’ milk.

The advantages of goats’ milk formulas

It being understood that in no case can fresh goats’ milk or cows’ milk be administered to children under 12 months of age, goats’ milk formulas are more easily digestible than cows’ milk formulas. Thanks to the greater presence of β-casein and a lower concentration of αs1-casein, the digestion of goats’ milk is in fact comparable to that of human milk. The taste is also particularly appreciated by children, which is why compliance is also higher, if you take into account a period of continuous intake.

From the analysis of Prof. Vania it emerges that formulas based on goats’ milk can be a valid alternative to traditional ones, in case there is a real impossibility to breastfeed, which – we will never tire of repeating – remains undoubtedly the best choice. Goats’ milk formula is a new solution , especially in cases where the newborn baby rejects other types of milk, or in cases of digestive difficulties or constipation problems.

Last week two new seminars took place on the importance of the supplementation with iron in pediatric age, which involved theHospital Santo Bambino of Catania and the Policlinico “G. Martino” of Messina.

The need for prophylaxis with iron supplementation in the paediatric age

The first meeting was held in Catania on Tuesday 20 November and involved doctors from the Department of Neonatology and theNeonatal Intensive Care Unit. As part of the course “Anaemia in the newborn: from diagnosis to therapy” , Prof. Giovanna Russo, director of the Department of Paediatric Oncohaematology at the Policlinico di Catania, was involved in the role of moderator.
Specifically, the discussion focused on theimportance of iron in the paediatric age: starting from the problems related to absorption, the need for prophylactic supplementation emerged clearly, not only in the case of premature babies, but also in term births. This from a perspective of prevention of nutritional iron deficiency and greater attention to the development of the cognitive system, in which iron plays a fundamental role. Participating physicians also stressed the importance of avoiding the risks associated with intravenous administration of iron, preferring the use of iron for oral use, especially in pediatric age.

Supplementing iron in pediatric age: a real emergency in the case of kidney or blood diseases

The same results emerged following a meeting held in Messina on Wednesday 21 November, which was attended by doctors from the Department of Pediatric Nephrology and Oncohaematology, introduced by Prof. Chimens, moderator of the discussion. In this case, particular emphasis was placed on the new oral formulation, SiderAL®Gocce Forte, which could become an important tool in cases of iron deficiency or reduced iron intake, as well as in cases where doctors are forced to resort to a therapy based on erythropoietin, which must always be accompanied by proper iron supplementation.

SiderAL®: an effective therapeutic tool even in the most sensitive cases

In this context the characteristics of SiderAL®, the only nutritional supplement based on Sucrosomal Iron® were judged by doctors to be far superior to other iron-based products. As evidenced by the numerous scientific publications in this respect, the products in the SiderAL® line have clear advantages, including greater tolerabilitybioavailability and compliance. In particular, in the paediatric field, there is an evident need to resort to non-invasive and practical solutions to be able to properly integrate iron from the first days of life and throughout children’s growth.