The Progression of Allergies in Children: The ‘Allergic March’ from Hay Fever to Eczema

eczema The Progression of Allergies in Children: The
The Progression of Allergies in Children: The ‘Allergic March’ from Hay Fever to Eczema

The Progression of Allergies in Children: The ‘Allergic March’ from Hay Fever to Eczema


Allergies have become increasingly prevalent in children over the years, with conditions like hay fever and eczema affecting a significant portion of the population. One phenomenon that has been observed is the progression of allergies in children, commonly known as the ‘Allergic March.’ This term refers to the sequential appearance of different allergic conditions, starting with hay fever and often progressing to eczema. Understanding this progression is crucial for parents and healthcare professionals in managing and preventing allergies in children. In this article, we will delve into the factors and mechanisms underlying the Allergic March and explore strategies for mitigating its effects.

The Allergic March: A Roadmap of Allergy Development

The Allergic March typically begins with hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis. This condition is characterized by symptoms such as sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, and a runny or blocked nose. Hay fever is often triggered by outdoor allergens like pollen, dust mites, or animal dander. As children grow older, their immune systems may start reacting to these allergens, leading to the development of hay fever symptoms.

However, the story doesn’t end there. For many children, hay fever can act as a stepping stone to more severe allergic conditions, particularly eczema. Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition. It causes red, itchy patches of skin that may become dry, scaly, and even blistered. While eczema can develop independently, it often follows a trajectory that begins with hay fever.

The Underlying Mechanisms: Allergens, Genetics, and the Immune System

To understand why allergies progress in this manner, we need to explore the underlying mechanisms involved. Allergic conditions are a result of a complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors. Certain changes in the skin barrier function, immune system dysregulation, and genetic predispositions contribute to the development of allergies.

Exposure to allergens, such as pollen or dust mites, triggers an immune response in susceptible individuals. In hay fever, the immune system overreacts to these allergens, leading to the release of histamine and other inflammatory molecules. This response causes the typical symptoms associated with hay fever, like sneezing and itching.

Over time, this immune system dysregulation can progress to affect other areas of the body, like the skin in the case of eczema. Factors like a weakened skin barrier function and genetic predisposition make individuals more susceptible to eczema. The immune system response to allergens can cause inflammation in the skin, leading to the characteristic features of eczema.

Preventing and Managing the Allergic March

While the development of allergies in children is influenced by genetic factors that are beyond our control, there are steps that can be taken to manage and prevent the Allergic March:

1. Early Intervention

Recognizing and addressing hay fever symptoms early on can help mitigate the progression towards more severe allergies. Regularly consulting with a pediatrician or allergist can aid in identifying the triggers and implementing appropriate management strategies.

2. Allergen Avoidance

Minimizing exposure to common allergens, such as pollen or dust mites, can help prevent the onset or worsening of hay fever and eczema. Implementing measures like using dust mite covers on mattresses, frequent vacuuming, and avoiding outdoor activities during peak pollen times can significantly reduce allergen exposure.

3. Skincare Routine

Maintaining a proper skincare routine is crucial for individuals prone to eczema. This involves gentle cleansing, moisturizing, and using products specifically formulated for sensitive skin. Avoiding harsh chemicals, fragrances, and irritants can help keep the skin barrier intact, reducing the risk of eczema flare-ups.

4. Diet and Nutrition

Certain dietary factors may influence the development and severity of allergies. Breastfeeding has been shown to have a protective effect against the development of eczema and other allergic conditions. Introducing allergenic foods, like peanuts and eggs, to infants at the appropriate age as recommended by healthcare professionals may also help reduce allergy risk.

5. Immunotherapy

For children with severe allergies, allergen immunotherapy, such as allergy shots or sublingual immunotherapy, may be recommended. These treatments can alter the immune response and reduce the severity of symptoms associated with hay fever and other allergic conditions.


The ‘Allergic March’ represents the progression of allergies in children, starting with hay fever and potentially evolving into more severe conditions like eczema. While the exact mechanisms and triggers behind this progression are still being studied, understanding the interplay between genetics, environmental factors, and immune system dysregulation is crucial for prevention and management. By implementing early interventions, allergen avoidance, proper skincare routines, and appropriate dietary measures, we can potentially mitigate the effects of the Allergic March and improve the quality of life for children affected by allergies.[2]

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