By no means are we offering medical advice - it’s strongly suggested that you see a doctor if symptoms persist. Allergies are becoming a more common occurrence in babies and are one of many reasons your little one may be fussy and cranky, developing rashes, having runny noses or even an upset stomach. Before you let internet research lead you down a path of panic, consider that these symptoms may be indicative of an allergy.
What is an allergy?
An allergy is an inappropriate response by a baby’s immune system to an allergen – which is the substance that causes the allergic reaction. Allergens can range from pollen, pet dander, food and certain types of fabrics or materials.
What are the symptoms of an allergic reaction?
In babies, typically symptoms of allergic reaction include:
- skin rashes
- hay fever
- chronic nasal congestion
- itchy eyes, skin or nose
- constantly runny nose (that lasts more than 7-10 days)
How do I identify the allergen?
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine what is causing your baby’s allergic reaction. Before seeking an appointment with an allergist for allergy testing, there are ways you can try to identify the allergen:
- Consider the time of year. Colds, which produce symptoms such as nasal congestion or a runny nose, are common in the winter. However, if your baby seems stuffed up throughout the entire year, this could be an allergy and likely one caused by indoor substances. Otherwise, symptoms throughout the spring may indicate seasonal allergies.
- Food allergies. Allergic reactions to foods happen within a few minutes to an hour and a half after a food has been consumed. If you suspect that a certain food is causing your baby to have an allergic reaction, write down what he or she eats and when they eat it.
- Write it down. Overall, you should take notes of your baby’s symptoms and when they occur, noting objects or substances that are in the baby’s environment such as pets, foods, fabrics and materials or even scents like scented wax or candles.
How can I treat the allergies?
There is really no way to eliminate an allergy but you can treat the symptoms. Skin moisturizers or 1% hydrocortisone creams can be used to treat allergic rashes while oral antihistamines can provide relief for older babies who suffer from congestion or runny noses.
If these treatments don’t work, it may be time to see a doctor. If the allergies persist or the cause is undetermined, your doctor can refer you to an allergist who can test for specific allergies.
Reducing exposure to an allergen reduces the allergy.
Figuring out what exactly is causing an allergic reaction is crucial in eliminating the symptoms – limited or eliminated exposure to what is causing an allergic reaction greatly reduces the chances of symptoms even appearing. Watching carefully what your child consumes, touches or is exposed to, or having tests done by an allergist, will determine where the cause lies so that you can protect your child from allergy-inducing substances.