Are you feeling certain that your infant’s runny nose and watery eyes are due to seasonal allergies? Not so fast…
Although the breezy spring days and high pollen counts might have you sneezing and sniffling, it’s very unlikely that your infant is suffering from seasonal allergies.
According to physicians, seasonal allergies to things such as pollen and grass usually don’t rear their ugly head until a child is about two to four years old. Your infant would need to have significant exposure to something like pollen or grass to trigger a seasonal allergy, and most infants simply don’t spend that much time outdoors in their first year of life to make that happen. So yes, mom and dad, you have to see some seasons before you have symptoms of seasonal allergies! Phew… thank goodness, right?
But, while you can probably rule out spring allergies, you can’t rule out allergies altogether. In fact, allergies are the most frequently reported chronic medical condition kids experience. Did you know that food allergies may affect as many as 8% of all kids? And then of course there’s also genetics – according to the American Academy of Paediatrics, a child is 25% more likely to have an allergy if one parent is allergic, and the risk is more than doubled if both parents have allergies.
Things like mould, dust and pets can actually trigger symptoms such as red eyes, sneezing and sniffles, just like you see with seasonal allergies. And, although newborn allergies can be scary, there’s no need for panic. Allergies are more commonplace then they were a decade ago, and there are more successful treatments available. Sometimes baby’s allergy may even go away on its own over time.
The good news is that there are certain measures you can take to protect you infant against allergies:
Breastfeed your baby for at least six months. You can increase the benefits of breastfeeding if you avoid eating allergenic foods including milk, eggs, fish and nuts.
If you don’t nurse, use a hypoallergenic hydrolysed formula (made up of protein that’s so broken down, it’s virtually undetectable by the immune system).
Thing is, it can be really tricky to tell the difference between an allergy and a cold. How do you make that call? Dr S Ganjian, a paediatrician at Providence Saint John’s Health Centre in California, states that a child almost certainly has a cold if he has a fever, nasal congestion, or was exposed to someone who was sick.
That being said, no matter what, never try figuring out what’s plaguing your little one at home on your own, especially if the symptoms have been going on for a while or are getting more severe.
If you are concerned because of some symptoms you’ve spotted, make an appointment with your paediatrician so you can set the wheels in motion to make your baby feel better as soon as possible.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.