Different Types of Allergies in Babies and Toddlers
There may be instances when you see that your baby's skin has rashes, and it does not feel so soft. Alternatively, your baby sneezes or sniffles every once in a while. These are some of the symptoms of allergies in babies.
This article throws light on the causes, symptoms and prevention of various allergies in toddlers and infants.
What Are Allergies in Babies and Toddlers?
Allergies in babies are just as common as allergies in adults and grown-up children. Infants and toddlers have allergic reactions in their bodies when they eat certain foods or touch or inhale unseen particles. Allergic reaction to medication or food normally happens just after they consume them.
What Are the Most Common Types of Allergies in Babies and Toddlers?
The types of allergies in babies are -
- Food Allergies: Food allergies are one of the most common allergies in a baby. About six million babies and toddlers have an allergic reaction to certain foods. This is more common in boys than in girls. Food allergies in kids can cause life-threatening conditions like extreme breathing trouble, anaphylaxis and sudden drop in blood pressure.
- Seasonal Allergies: In this case, allergy symptoms in babies become worse in seasons. The common seasonal allergies cause sniffling, sneezing and wheezing when some grasses, trees and weeds bloom.
- Indoor Allergies: The dust particles and mites can also cause allergic reactions to your little ones. One in every six kids has a type of indoor allergy.
- Pet Allergies: Your fluffy dog can cause allergic symptoms to your baby. Cats cause pet allergies the most. However, dogs can also be the cause of allergies. In such a case, keep a pet that will not cause an allergy, like a fish
Symptoms and Signs of Allergies in Babies & Toddlers
The symptoms of food allergy in babies include –
- Belly pain
- Rash or hives
- Vomiting or nausea
- Red rashes around the baby’s mouth
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Swelling of legs, face or arms
- Tightness in throat
- Breathing trouble
The symptoms of seasonal allergies in a baby include –
- Itchy and runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Stuffy nose
- Ear pain
Signs and symptoms of indoor allergy in babies are as follows –
- Chest tightness and coughing
- Stuffy nose or sneezing
- Watery and itchy eyes
- Rashes and itchy skin
- Recurring colds
Babies and toddlers who have pet allergies encounter symptoms like –
How Do Babies Develop Allergies?
The causes of food allergies in babies are cow’s milk, eggs, fish, nuts (cashews, almonds and walnuts), shellfish, soy and wheat. Pollen from plants and trees trigger seasonal allergies. In contrast, the primary causes of indoor allergies in toddlers are dust mites, mould, perfume and cigarette smoke. Pet dander, saliva, sweat, urine and fur are the main causes of pet allergies in babies.
What Are the Risk Factors Associated with Allergies in Babies and Toddlers?
The risk factors of allergies in babies and toddlers are –
- Genetic atopic predisposition
- Exposure to any allergen
- Viral respiratory infections
- Bad dietary factors
- Not enough breastfeeding
- Child obesity
- Frequent immunisations
How to Diagnose Allergies in Babies and Toddlers?
An allergy test is the only way to make sure that your little one has an allergy or not. A paediatrician can perform some of these tests. However, the doctor might refer your baby to an allergist. A skin prick test is used to diagnose skin allergies in babies.
A blood test can also identify the cause and the type of allergies in babies. In case of food allergy, the medical professional can advise you to eliminate certain foods from the baby’s diet and note the difference.
How to Treat Allergies in Toddlers and Babies?
The best treatment for allergies in babies is to identify and eliminate the allergen. Antihistamines are one of the best ways to treat the allergy in a baby. However, most antihistamines are not recommended for children below two years of age. Hydrocortisone cream helps treat different types of skin allergies in babies. For severe insect or food allergy symptoms, the doctor will prescribe you to use emergency epinephrine to treat the allergy.
How to Prevent Allergies in Babies?
Let us see some ways to prevent different types of allergies in babies –
You cannot completely prevent food allergies in babies and toddlers. However, it can be delayed using the following recommendations –
- Breastfeed your baby for the initial six months.
- Avoid solid foods till the baby completes six months of age.
- Avoid peanuts, cow's milk, eggs, fish and wheat during the first year of the baby.
The following ways will help you prevent your little one from a seasonal allergy –
- Keep the windows of your house closed in warmer months.
- Switch on the air conditioners during the warmer months.
The ways to prevent indoor allergies in babies are as follows –
- Limit dust by laundering towels and sheets in hot water.
- Vacuum the carpets and floors once every week and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to do the same.
- Reduce the dust mites.
Practise the following methods to protect your baby from pet allergy –
- Keep the pet away from your child’s room.
- Remove carpets as pet dander and sweat accumulate on them.
- Clean the child's room thoroughly.
- Keep pets away from the furniture in your house.
- Clean your house using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.