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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I prevent my 5 year old getting frequent colds?

    My 5 year old daughter gets cold/cough regularly about once a month. She is an active child, eating very nutritiously (very little processed and high sugar/fat/salt foods), have Chinese herbals regularly. She does have an allergy to fish and had eczema when she was younger. I tried the RPA elimination diet strict and it helped a bit but couldn't stay on that for very long. I'm getting frustrated with the frequency of her colds and seemingly very weak immune system. Is this normal in a child with allergies or sensitivities? What can be done to strengthen her immune system or prevent such frequent colds/coughs? Thanks.
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  • 2

    Thanks

    Dr Alexander Lozynsky

    Allergy Specialist & Immunologist

    Consultant allergist and immunologist, with particular interest in allergic rhinitis and sinusitis, allergic respiratory disorders, food allergies and sensitivity and allergic skin conditions, including atopic … View Profile

    Your daughter would appear to have an atopic (allergic) predisposition, with her history of eczema (atopic dermatitis) and allergy to fish. How was the allergy to fish diagnosed? By skin testing, a blood test (RAST) or other tests? It is likely that what you refer to as “colds” may in fact not all be “colds” caused by viral infections, but allergic respiratory responses to environmental allergens such as house dust mite, animal dander and pollens. The symptoms can be frequent blocked noses with mainly clear nasal discharge, sneezing and itchy nose and eyes, with frequent rubbing. This would indicate allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis.There is no asssociated fever, although these symptoms may make a child irritable. A recurrent cough can be associated with these symptoms and may be related to allergic rhinitis and increased mucus production, but could also be a symptom of asthma, which is closely associated with allergic rhinitis and coud also be induced by viral respiratory infections.
    It is important to remember that children do have more frequent infections, primarily viral, as they are exposed to new viruses and their immune system develops with age. Your daughter is unlikely to have an “immune deficiency” , but you should consult your doctor who may arrange investigations or refer her to a specialist for further assessment. Food allergy or sensitivity is unlikely to be responsible for her “cold” symptoms.

  • 2

    Thanks

    Christine Guirguis

    Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbal Medicine Practitioner

    Christine Guirguis studied at the University of Sydney and the University of Technology Sydney, obtaining degrees in medical science and health sciences in acupuncture and … View Profile

    In my clinical experience, frequent colds and flus, combined with signs such as eczema are often a sign of immune impairment stemming from a distruption in the normal bacterial populations of the gut. This is very common in children for various reasons, but one of the most common is previous treatment with antibiotics. I often will prescibe a probiotic such as Saccharomyces boulardii alone first without Chinese herbals for these cases, and often this alone is enough to see a marked decrease in the number of days that the child is suffering with colds. 

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