A substance to which non-allergic individuals do not experience any issues, but elicits an abnormal response in allergic individuals, is referred to as an allergen, and the abnormal reaction of the allergic person is termed allergy. While a non-allergic person can comfortably have a picnic amidst meadows and trees during spring, an allergic individual who has developed sensitivity to pollen may experience a severe allergic crisis in such an environment, characterized by intense sneezing, runny nose and eyes, itching, and coughing.


The substances we call allergens include house dust mites, grass, tree, and weed pollens, cat and dog dander, mold spores, and certain foods such as milk, eggs, and nuts.

Allergic predisposition is an inherited trait, and an individual gradually develops sensitivity to one or more of these allergens over time, resulting in reactions during certain periods of life. Allergic diseases that may emerge in this way include asthma, eczema, allergic rhinitis, and food and drug allergies.

Babies are in contact with foods through the umbilical cord from the early stages of pregnancy. For example, infants can develop sensitivity to cow’s milk and eggs in the first few months and may develop eczema (atopic dermatitis), an allergic disease, starting from around 2-3 months of age. A baby with eczema may lose sensitivity to certain foods over time. While the eczema improves, the baby may develop sensitivity to new allergens in the environment, such as dust and pollen, and subsequently develop allergic rhinitis and asthma.

In recent years, there has been an epidemic-like increase in allergic diseases. When looking at the reasons for this increase over the past fifty years, the following factors stand out:

– Living in poorly ventilated homes with carpets due to industrialization,
– Spending inactive time watching television,
– Widespread use of antibiotics and the reduction of certain diseases through vaccinations,
– Changes in dietary habits (fast food) and obesity,
– Vitamin D deficiency due to spending less time outdoors.

This increase is not observed in rural areas where individuals live with animals.

Today, we can say that one in every three children is allergic. Asthma is the most common allergic disease, ranking first among them. Asthma is characterized by coughing, especially at night, coughing and wheezing that increase with running and exertion, and dry cough, sometimes leading to wheezing and shortness of breath, which is called an asthma attack. About 80% of asthma cases in childhood begin before the age of 6, and this age period, during which coughing and wheezing due to viral infections such as colds and the flu are common, is crucial.

Additionally, frequent wheezing may occur in babies born prematurely, whose mothers smoke, starting life at a disadvantage. The important thing here is to understand which one has asthma and to start appropriate treatments without delay.

Delays in treatment impair the quality of life and can lead to permanent respiratory function disorders in the future. If there is asthma in the family or if the child has eczema, coughing and wheezing attacks that occurred three times in the last year without infection can be considered as asthma.

How can we understand an allergic child?

If a child has developed eczema on their cheeks at the age of 2-3 months, we know that this child has a 50% chance of having a food-related allergic disease. In the following months and years, this child may frequently experience runny and stuffy nose, coughing, and shortness of breath, as well as frequent middle ear problems. Therefore, this child may have used antibiotics unnecessarily many times. Sometimes, unnecessary ear tube and adenoid surgeries may also be undergone. Because the allergic constitution, especially in the fall and winter, easily catches viral respiratory infections and cannot clear them easily. However, with appropriate allergy consultation and allergic protection, these problems can be minimized, and a healthy course can be ensured. Therefore, any child with a story like the one mentioned, whether or not they have eczema, and if there is a family history of allergy, deserves an allergy evaluation.

What can we do for prevention in allergic diseases?

– Living in a well-ventilated house without carpets that are easy to clean,
– Balanced and healthy nutrition,
– Avoiding unnecessary antibiotic use,
– Benefiting adequately from the sun and clean air,
– Avoiding a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and polluted air are some of the key measures.