What To Do For A Baby With Seasonal Allergies
If the blood test or skin prick test determines your baby does have allergies, the doctor might prescribe medication or suggest a treatment plan. Otherwise, you can take certain measures to prevent your baby from coming in contact with pollen.
Avoid going outdoors at peak pollen times, usually the middle of the day instead, head outdoors in the early morning or late evening, and try not to go outdoors during windy days. If you do need to run errands with Baby during peak times, be sure to wash your hands and your baby’s hands after you come back inside to remove any pollen, or bathe your baby to wash away traces of pollen. Keep windows closed and air conditioners on in the warmer months.
Limit dust and pet dander at home by laundering sheets and towels in hot water, and avoid line-drying clothes, as pollen can stick to them. Vacuum floors and carpets at least once a week, and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, which removes some allergens. These simple changes to your routine can help you and your baby enjoy the outdoors in all seasons.
Seasonal Allergies: The Tip Of The Iceberg
Little is still known about the causes of allergies, which are many. Atopy is a hereditary predisposition to allergies that afflict many children. Children with this hypersensitivity can suffer from different allergies or illnesses at various stages in their development. In this context, it is generally recognized that seasonal allergies often go hand in hand with other early childhood diseases, such as:
- food allergies
The first signs of allergies are often food allergies and eczema that can be seen on nursing infants. A little later in infancy, symptoms of allergic rhinitis can develop.
If your child suffers from asthma or eczema, the symptoms might temporarily worsen during the seasonal allergy period. Sometimes it may be necessary to increase medication when this happens: the child will have to use an asthma inhaler more often, or apply more eczema cream or unguent.
What Things Cause Allergies
Common Airborne Allergens
Some of the most common things people are allergic to are airborne :
Common Food Allergens
Up to 2 million, or 8%, of kids in the United States are affected by food allergies. Eight foods account for most of those: cow’s milk, eggs, fish and shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts, soy, and wheat.
Other Common Allergens
- Insect allergy. For most kids, being stung by an insect means swelling, redness, and itching at the site of the bite. But for those with insect venom allergy, an insect sting can cause more serious symptoms.
- Medicines. Antibiotics are the most common type of medicines that cause allergic reactions. Many other others, including over-the-counter medicines , also can cause allergic reactions.
- Chemicals. Some cosmetics or laundry detergents can make people break out in hives. Usually, this is because someone has a reaction to the chemicals in these products, though it may not always be an allergic reaction. Dyes, household cleaners, and pesticides used on lawns or plants also can cause allergic reactions in some people.
Some kids also have what are called cross-reactions. For example, kids who are allergic to birch pollen might have symptoms when they eat an apple because that apple is made up of a protein similar to one in the pollen. And for reasons that aren’t clear, people with a latex allergy are more likely to be allergic to foods like kiwi, chestnuts, avocados, and bananas.
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Treating Seasonal Allergies In Children
- Minimize symptoms at home by washing clothes after being outside, vacuuming often and using air filters and purifiers.
- Try a non-sedating oral antihistamine, such as Zyrtec or Claritin. Your child should get relief within a day or two.
- If the antihistamine helps, but not much, add a nasal steroid such as over-the-counter Flonase which you spray into the nose. Sometimes you need both antihistamine and nasal spray to control allergies.
- You can also try nasal spray only. If your child gets relief, skip the oral antihistamine.
How To Know If Your Child Has Seasonal Allergies
Seasonal allergies can be difficult to diagnose because they often manifest in symptoms similar to the common cold such as runny noses, sneezing, coughing, and congestion, or in ways your little one cant express such as irritability, itchy ears and throat, and restlessness. Your child may exhibit just a few or many of these symptoms if they are experiencing allergies.
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Horizontal Nasal Line Indicates Possible Allergy
When children rub their nostrils up and down and wiggle their nose side to side, the movement creates a wrinkle or crease on top of their nose. Often, the line or crease is white or reddish in color. “If a child has been dealing with an itchy, sneezy, runny nose for weeks, and we see a horizontal line on the nose, we suspect allergies,” explains Dr. Lee. “That crease is pretty much exclusive to allergy sufferers who rub their nose.”
How To Tell Seasonal Nasal Allergies From The Common Cold
- Symptoms happen during pollen season
- Had the same symptoms during the same month last year
- Hay fever symptoms last 6-8 weeks for each pollen. .
- Allergies: itchy eyes and nose. Not seen with colds.
- Colds: fever and/or sore throat. Not seen with allergies
- Both: runny nose and watery eyes. Can also have a cough with both, but less common with allergies.
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How Are Allergies Treated
There’s no cure for allergies, but symptoms can be managed. The best way to cope with them is to avoid the allergens. That means that parents must educate their kids early and often, not only about the allergy itself, but also about the reactions they can have if they consume or come into contact with the allergen.
Telling all caregivers about your child’s allergy is also important.
If avoiding environmental allergens isn’t possible or doesn’t help, doctors might prescribe medicines, including antihistamines, eye drops, and nasal sprays.
In some cases, doctors recommend allergy shots to help desensitize a person to an allergen. But allergy shots are only helpful for allergens such as dust, mold, pollens, animals, and insect stings. They’re not used for food allergies.
To help kids avoid airborne allergens:
- Keep family pets out of your child’s bedroom.
- Remove carpets or rugs from your child’s room .
- Don’t hang heavy drapes and get rid of other items that allow dust to build up.
- Clean when your child is not in the room.
- Use special covers to seal pillows and mattresses if your child is allergic to dust mites.
- If your child has a pollen allergy, keep the windows closed when pollen season is at its peak, have your child take a bath or shower and change clothes after being outdoors, and don’t let him or her mow the lawn.
- Keep kids who are allergic to mold away from damp areas, such as some basements, and keep bathrooms and other mold-prone areas clean and dry.
Can Babies Get Seasonal Allergies
Seasonal allergies are usually caused by pollen from weeds, grasses, and trees. These types of allergies are actually very rare in babies, and they aren’t typically seen until children are 2 or 3 years old at the earliest. “Allergies develop after a cumulative exposure to an allergen,” explains Anne Miranowski, M.D., a pediatric allergist in Fairfax, Virginia. “An infant doesn’t spend enough time outdoors to develop a reaction to tree pollen, grass, or ragweed.”
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One your little one becomes a toddler, though, the allergies may kick in. Shes at an increased risk if Mom or Dad also has an allergy. Her trigger may be completely different, though if you’re allergic to pollen, your child might react to cats. But even if you and your spouse never itch or sneeze, your kid isn’t necessarily in the clear.
Childhood allergies are on the rise, and many young sufferers have no family history. Some experts think our super-clean, ultra-hygienic lifestyle plays a role. If kids live in an almost-germ-free bubble, the theory goes, their immune system will pick fights with other invaders, like pollen or household particles.
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Allergies Due To Moulds
The challenging aspect about moulds is that they can grow pretty much in any area of your home. Spotting them quickly may be difficult since their growth can even exist in hidden corners that are out of your line of sight. Similar to pollen seeds, the spores of these moulds move through the air to spread around and result in allergies when inhaled. Areas that usually quite damp all the time are highly susceptible to mould growth.
Precautions To Take
- Ensure enough ventilation in all areas of your home, supported by a humidifier if necessary.
- Avoid keeping any wet objects or clothes around in a pile.
- Clean corners and other damp areas of your home regularly.
- Take a look around your home and check for mould growth close to your windows or doors.
Other Ways To Alleviate Symptoms
Parents can alleviate symptoms naturally as well. When the pollen count is high or the trees start sprouting in the spring, try to minimize the time outside. When your baby or toddler does spend time outside, it can be helpful to clean everything that could contain pollen. Taking shoes off at the door can keep pollen that is picked up by the shoes from getting tracked into the house. Get the baby out of the clothing and wash it to get the pollen off. A bath can also provide your little one with some relief it will wash away any pollen on the skin and hair. Pets that go outside should be washed as well to prevent pollen from getting into the house.
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They Get Ear Infections
While ear infections aren’t a direct symptom of allergies, allergies do lead to inflammation of the middle ear, which can then lead to an ear infection, explained the Allergy, Asthma, And Sinus Center. Not only is that unpleasant for your toddler â an infection causes that feeling you get when you need to pop your ears â but it also decreases their ability to hear, and that can in turn affect the development of their speaking skills.”Middle ear infections, called otitis media or OM, occur commonly in early childhood and are a frequent reason for antibiotic treatment and missed school days,” explained the Allergy, Asthma, and Sinus Center. “Allergies are a well recognized cause for recurrent OM and kids who have more than their share of middle ear infections should be allergy tested.”
Can A Child Have A Fever With Allergies
Allergies dont directly cause fever. If your little one has a fever, its a sign of an infection like a cold, ear infection or sinus infection.
Keep in mind, many people confuse seasonal allergies with a sinus infection . While they may be linked, theyre actually two different conditions:
- Seasonal allergies are an inflammation of the nasal passages that’s caused by allergens like pollen and grass.
- A sinus infection often starts as a cold and turns into a bacterial infection, although allergies can also cause sinusitis. Aside from fever, other sinusitis symptoms may include thick, discolored nasal discharge pain and tenderness around the nose, cheeks, eyes or forehead nasal congestion and inflammation and achiness in the jaw.
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How Seasonal Allergies Affect Children
Children are just as prone to seasonal allergies as adults are. Allergies can occur due to seasonal pollen, dust, pets, and/or mold. While these kinds of allergies are uncommon in babies under one year old, they are quite common in toddlers and older children. Seasonal allergies can develop in children as early as one or two years old, and commonly develop between the ages of three and five. If you yourself or another parent has seasonal allergies, your children will be more prone to developing allergies as well.
Many different environmental factors contribute to seasonal allergies. Indoor factors such as dust, dander, and mold can cause allergies at any time of year, however, outdoor culprits such as pollen typically cause allergies in the spring, summer, or fall. Allergy symptoms are the immune systems response to these pollen or mold particles. They will likely return every year around the same time if your child is allergic to certain types of pollen. Of course, when and if your child experiences allergies and to what is completely dependent on where you live and the specific plants and weather conditions in the area.
What’s The Difference Between A Cold And Allergies
When exposed to certain particles such as animal dander, pollen, trees and grasses children may have an allergic response. This occurs when the immune system overreacts to allergens, triggering the release of histamine and other chemicals into the bloodstream.
This response causes common allergy symptoms, including:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Fever, in some cases
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Remove Pollen From Clothing And Bodies
Once your children are done playing outside, you should do your best to keep the outdoors out. That means changing out of and washing pollen-dusted clothes.
You should also encourage showering or bathing in order to clean the pollen off your childs hair and exposed skin. Your child can also wear a washable hat or handkerchief over their hair when outside to reduce exposure. If a shower isnt in the cards, remember to wash your childs hands, face, and other exposed areas when back indoors.
When Should I Give My Child Allergy Medications
Antihistamines should be given when kids have symptoms. Be sure to carefully read the label, follow dosing instructions, and check in with your pediatrician to discuss what works best for your family.
While seasonal allergies are no walk in the park, they can be safely and effectively managed. Avoiding exposure, reducing continued exposure, and choosing a safe and effective allergy medication can all help get your child back to their old self in no time.
You can learn more about identifying and taking care of your childs allergies with our quick guide: 5 Allergy Indicators that Every Parent Should Know.
Ali Wilkinson is a lawyer and writer based in Portland, Oregon. She has been practicing law for over 15 years, working with clients across a wide range of specialties.
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Allergies Take Time To Develop
Even though it may seem like your childs symptoms popped up suddenly, allergies actually take time to develop in children, pediatric allergist Kathryn Ruda Wessell, DO, says.
Allergic rhinitis can be caused by either an indoor or outdoor allergen, Dr. Wessell says. With outdoor allergens, you have to live through the season a few times to become sensitized. We tend to see outdoor triggered seasonal allergy symptoms in children after age 3, classically ages 5 to 6. Indoor allergen triggered symptoms can be seen earlier, as early as 1 year of age because of things theyre exposed to in the home on a regular basis, such as dust mites and pets.
According to Dr. Wessell, some people are exposed to a foreign substance or allergen and have no symptoms, while others come into contact with an allergen and have allergic reactions, including a runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing.
Age also matters. Allergic reactions that are triggered by allergens, such as pollen, dust or pets are more common in children up to 20 years old. After that, its usually thought to be non-allergic rhinitis, which isnt caused by allergens, but rather by substances like smoke, chemicals, environmental irritants, hormonal changes and/or physical defects of the nose.
The way that allergies evolve in children even has a name, says Dr. Wessell.
The allergic march includes these conditions:
These four diseases can overlap or appear in different order in a childs life, Dr. Wessell says.
Can Your Child Have Fever Along With Allergy
You might observe your child to have an allergic reaction, as well as find his body to have a warmer temperature than usual. It is not uncommon for fever and an allergic reaction to show up at the same time. But, one is not responsible for the other and they are both independent of each other. Symptoms such as a runny nose or aching of the throat and high fever, can mean that it may not be an allergic reaction but a cold infection or so.
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Baby And Infant Allergy Diagnosis
Instead of sitting there and keep on wondering can babies have allergies?
It is important to take charge and keep a record of every symptom your baby exhibits type and timing.
This will be handy to your doctor in determining the kind of allergy and offer advice on how to handle it.
At one point, you may need to contact an allergist who will, in turn, inquire about the symptoms, personal as well as family health record.
Ensure to inform the doctor the particular timing of the symptoms such as during certain seasons or after feeding.
Allergies Due To Grass Pollen
Grass pollen allergies are majorly seen in the times when the initial summer months are starting out, with spring being at the point of coming to an end. Varieties of grasses like orchard, rye and many others pollinate majorly in this period. However, there are always scenarios where your child could suffer from grass pollen allergies at any point in time since many other varieties keep pollinating through the year.
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