Hay Fever and the Allergic March: How Allergies Progress in Children

Eczema to hay fever Hay Fever and the Allergic March: How Allergies Progress in Children
Hay Fever and the Allergic March: How Allergies Progress in Children

Hay Fever and the Allergic March: How Allergies Progress in Children

The Allergy Journey: From Eczema to Hay Fever

Allergies are becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s society, affecting people of all ages. In children, allergies can often start with eczema, a common inflammatory skin condition. As children grow older, they may experience the phenomenon known as the “allergic march,” where one allergy leads to the development of others, eventually culminating in hay fever. Understanding the progression of allergies in children is crucial for effective management and prevention. In this article, we delve into the concept of the allergic march and explore the relationship between eczema and hay fever, providing valuable insights for parents and caregivers.

The Allergic March Explained

The allergic march, also known as the atopic march, refers to the sequential development of various allergic conditions starting in early childhood. It usually begins with eczema, followed by other atopic diseases such as food allergies, asthma, and eventually hay fever. This progression is believed to be a result of the immune system’s response to different allergens and environmental triggers over time.

From Eczema to Food Allergies

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is often the first sign of allergic tendencies in children. It typically appears as red, itchy rashes on the skin and can be a challenging condition to manage. While the exact cause of eczema is unknown, it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some children with eczema may develop allergic reactions to certain foods, leading to the development of food allergies.

Managing Eczema and Preventing Food Allergies

If your child has eczema, it is important to establish a proper skincare routine to manage their condition effectively. This includes keeping their skin well moisturized, avoiding triggers such as harsh soaps or perfumes, and identifying and eliminating any potential food allergens from their diet. Working with a pediatrician or allergist can help identify specific triggers and provide guidance on preventive measures.

The Role of Asthma

As the allergic march continues, some children with eczema and food allergies may develop asthma. Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition characterized by wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing. It occurs when the airways become inflamed and narrow, making it harder for air to pass through. The presence of eczema and food allergies increases the risk of developing asthma, as all these conditions share a common underlying immune dysfunction.

Controlling Asthma and Reducing the Risk of Hay Fever

To manage asthma in children, it is essential to create an asthma action plan with the guidance of a healthcare professional. This plan includes proper medication use, triggers avoidance, and regular monitoring of symptoms. Furthermore, controlling asthma can help reduce the risk of hay fever in the future.

The Culmination: Hay Fever

Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is the final phase in the allergic march for many children. It is characterized by symptoms such as sneezing, nasal congestion, watery eyes, and itching. Hay fever typically occurs in response to allergens such as pollen, molds, or pet dander. The immune system becomes sensitized to these allergens over time, leading to an exaggerated response upon exposure.

Managing Hay Fever and Minimizing Symptoms

When it comes to managing hay fever, there are several strategies that can provide relief for children. These include:

– Identifying and avoiding known triggers, such as staying indoors during peak pollen times or using air purifiers in the home.
– Regularly cleaning bedding and other surfaces to reduce allergen exposure.
– Over-the-counter antihistamine medications can help alleviate symptoms, but they should be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
– Immunotherapy, such as allergy shots or sublingual tablets, can be considered in severe cases to reduce the body’s sensitization to specific allergens.

Prevention: Breaking the Allergic March

While the allergic march is a natural progression for some children with allergies, there are steps that can be taken to potentially interrupt or minimize its course. Early intervention and prevention strategies may help reduce the risk of developing additional allergies or prevent the worsening of existing ones.

Introducing Solid Foods and Allergenic Foods

Recent research suggests that introducing solid foods to infants between four to six months, including highly allergenic foods like peanuts and eggs, may actually reduce the risk of developing food allergies. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional, particularly if there is a family history of allergies, before introducing these foods.

Promoting a Healthy Gut Microbiome

Maintaining a healthy gut microbiome has been linked to a reduced risk of allergies. Breastfeeding infants and incorporating a diverse range of fibers and probiotics into their diet can help promote a healthy gut microbiome and support a strong immune system.

Reducing Environmental Triggers

Minimizing exposure to environmental allergens, such as dust mites or pet dander, can also play a role in preventing the progression of allergies. Regular cleaning, using allergy-proof bedding, and keeping pets out of bedrooms can help create an allergy-friendly environment for children.


Understanding the allergic march and the progression of allergies in children is crucial in managing and preventing future allergies. By recognizing the early signs of eczema, addressing food allergies, managing asthma effectively, and addressing hay fever symptoms, parents and caregivers can help alleviate their child’s discomfort and minimize the impact of allergies. With the right strategies in place, it’s possible to break the cycle of the allergic march and provide children with a better quality of life.[2]

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