In his years of practice, Dr. William Howland has seen numerous children suffering from allergies and asthma. Dr. William Howland knows how difficult it is for parents to watch their children struggle with allergies and strives to help children through his practice and his medical research company, Sirius Clinical Research.
Dr. William Howland blames the increase in child allergies on a couple of things. First, Dr. William Howland cites the hygiene hypothesis, which states that our modern world has become so hygienic that our immune systems are not exposed to enough infections to strengthen them. Another reason for the increase in childhood allergies and asthma, Dr. William Howland believes, is genetics. Most of the children Dr. William Howland sees have at least one parent with allergy problems as well.
When Dr. William Howland sees children, it is generally to treat one of five conditions prevalent in childhood allergies. One of those five issues, Dr. William Howland says, eczema. Dry, red, itchy skin is often the first sign of allergies in an infant. Good skin care measures using mild soaps and moisturizers are the first treatments. Rarely eczema is a sign of food allergy and sometimes allergy testing is helpful to guide dietary changes.
The second allergy problem that develops early in childhood is hay fever. With symptoms such as runny nose and itchiness, hay fever tends to be more unpleasant than life threatening, Dr. William Howland says. Though not life threatening, significant hay fever can cause sleeping difficulties, daytime drowsiness, and interfere with learning and memory.
On the other hand, Dr. William Howland says asthma can be much more serious. Without speedy treatment, asthma can result in hospitalization, permanent scarring of airways, and very rarely even death. Luckily, medications are now available to get childhood asthma under control. The key is early diagnosis.
A fourth childhood allergy Dr. William Howland often sees is childhood food allergies. According to Dr. William Howland, most children are allergic to one of five foods: peanuts, soy, milk, egg and wheat. In most cases, Dr. William Howland alters the diet of a child, but he also provides an EpiPen (autoinjectable epinephrine which can stop and reverse a food reaction) for parents to keep on hand at all times.
Sinus disease is the fifth condition Dr. William Howland’s office most often treats in children. Blocked sinuses are a result of allergies swelling a child’s nose, Dr. William Howland says, with dental problems and chronic coughing also a symptom. Early identification of these problems is the key to having your child once again breathing freely.
Dr. William Howland is an Austin-based medical doctor specializing in the treatment of allergies and asthma. Board certified in Allergy and Immunology, as well as Internal Medicine, Dr. William Howland is research director at Sirius Clinical Research, an allergy research facility in Austin.