Recognizing Allergies in Infants
Loving parents know that any chronic symptom their babies present can potentially be serious; as such, it can be agony wondering whether their babies' persistent minor ailments are the result of illness or simply allergies.
As allergies are an “illness-like” reaction to allergens (harmless substances the body mistakes for something dangerous, prompting a release of histamines and other chemicals), they can be difficult to properly separate from the actual disease, but with the right application of knowledge and testing, a successful treatment plan is possible.
They can be difficult to properly separate from the actual disease, but with the right application of knowledge and testing, a successful treatment plan is possible.
If preliminary trips to the doctor don't detect any signs of serious illness, but your baby continues to display discomfort, there are steps you can take to assess the likelihood that he or she is suffering from allergies:
Keep the age of your infant in mind. It takes' at least a few months of exposure to an allergen for an allergy to develop, and often takes between 1-3 years. If your infant is a newborn, it's almost certain that he or she is not suffering from allergies.
If your infant is a newborn, it's almost certain that he or she is not suffering from allergies.
- Look at your own history with allergies, and that of your child's other parent. Allergies are strongly genetic; if one of a child's parents has hay fever or pet allergies, there's a 40 to 50 percent chance the child will have a similar allergy.
If both parents share the same allergy, there's a 75 to 80 percent chance the child will have it. As such, you can logically deduce that if for example, you and your child's other parent are allergic to dust mites—something found in 4 out of 5 homes in America—then your baby's persistent runny nose and dry cough is likely due to this common culprit.
- Assess the length of time your child has had symptoms. Colds typically last no longer than ten days, so if your child's cold-like symptoms have lasted for weeks or months without developing into anything more serious, it's almost certainly a case of allergies.
- Assess the nature of the symptoms. A child frequently wiggling, wiping, or pushing up his or her nose tends to be a telltale sign of allergic irritation. The mucus, too, holds a vital clue: If it's clear, rather than greenish, it's likely being caused by allergies.
The mucus, too, holds a vital clue: If it's clear, rather than greenish, it's likely being caused by allergies.
Sneezing often and having red, itchy eyes with purple-blue bags under them are other typical signs of an allergic condition—as is a red, itchy rash that does not go away with topical treatment.
The mucus, too, holds a vital clue: If it's clear, rather than greenish, it's likely being caused by allergies. Sneezing often and having red, itchy eyes with purple-blue bags under them are other typical signs of an allergic condition—as is a red, itchy rash that does not go away with topical treatment.
If your child is having chronic stomach problems, look at his or her diet. You should always avoid feeding your baby milk, eggs, nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat, as these foods often cause food allergies, which can seriously harm an infant.
Introduce any new foods one at a time, so allergy symptoms are easier to trace to their cause.
Do you know what's the real story?
Isolating the Cause of Allergies:-If you think allergies are the reason for your child's ongoing symptoms, the next step is to try to isolate the allergen responsible, as this information can be useful when having your child tested by a doctor:
If you have a pet, be aware of the fact that simply removing the pet from your home for a few days will make no difference.
This is because it's the pet's dander which causes the allergic reaction, not the pet itself. Instead, you should remove your child from the home (e.g. take a vacation) and see if the symptoms improve.
Eliminate dust mites:-
85% of people with allergies are allergic to dust mites, so this is an extremely common cause of allergic reactions in babies. To get rid of dust mites, ensure your home has less than 50% humidity and is cooler than 73 degrees Fahrenheit; in these conditions, the mites cannot survive.
Take note of the season and the weather conditions:-
If your child's symptoms seem to flare up every time it rains heavily, your child is likely allergic to mold, which releases spores when it rains.
If the allergies seem seasonal in nature, your child is likely allergic to pollen (note, however, that hay fever is rare in babies; it usually takes a few years to develop, as children are usually only exposed to pollen for several weeks per year).
If none of the above seem to apply, try removing wool blankets and clothing from your child's room, and any down pillows—children are sometimes allergic to these natural fibers.
If even this doesn't work, the allergen is likely something more obscure, and extensive testing may be required to identify the trigger.
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