Allergy can be defined as the reaction of the body to a substance called an allergen, which occurs due to activation of the immune system.
As in adults, the same reaction happens in a child, when they encounter an allergen. The immune system gets activated as the allergen enters the body, either by inhalation through nose or by touch through skin or it may be eaten as a food. When the allergen enters the body, certain immune cells release chemicals such as histamine to fight the allergen, which shows off as the allergy signs and symptoms in the body. There are many ways you can use to prevent allergies in babies.
Examples and Signs of Baby Allergies
What Are the Examples of Allergens?
Allergy can present in various ways, depending on the route of entry of allergen into the body. There are various kinds of allergens, the most common being, pollen, animal dander, mould, insects, foods, and drugs. Food allergy can present as intestinal problems, whereas other allergens can present as respiratory problems such as allergic rhinitis or as skin symptoms such as dryness, rash or eczema.
Milk can also be the major cause for allergies in babies. It can present as diarrhea, reflux, constipation, colic or skin dryness, rash and eczema. These symptoms can also be presented in various other conditions. So, it’s important, not to neglect them and consult your physician for the right advice.
Signs of Baby Allergies
After the child has an allergic reaction, the allergen sensitizes the immune system, and during the next exposure it acts as a trigger and activates the immune system. The immune cells release histamine, which is responsible for the development of allergic symptoms.
- Common signs
The presentation of allergy depends on various factors and these are the common presentations.
The symptoms of allergy include itchiness in the mouth, swollen lips and tongue, skin rash, redness or hives, watering of eyes, itchy eyes, nasal allergy, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.
Generally allergic reactions are mild to moderate in severity. If severe allergy happens, it occurs within minutes of exposure to an allergen and can involve the whole body.
- Serious signs
One more major allergic reaction, which presents in an acute, severe form, is called Anaphylactic shock or Anaphylaxis. It can be life threatening, as it involves the respiratory and/or the circulatory system. It usually manifests as a wheeze, severe dyspnea, and throat and tongue swelling when the respiratory system is involved. It presents as sudden drop in blood pressure when the circulatory system is involved.
Severe allergic reactions are rare. Some doctors prescribe an adrenaline auto injector pen for the babies who are diagnosed to be at risk for anaphylactic reactions.
- Delayed symptoms
There are other forms of allergies called delayed onset or non-IgE mediated allergies. The symptoms don’t manifest very quickly and at the same time it’s very difficult to spot the right trigger or cause for the allergic reaction. The delayed onset reactions take a long time to heal, and some may persist longer. Hence, it’s important to consult an appropriate physician for the right treatment.
Watch a video for different types of allergies in babies and how to tell which type of allergy he/she is having:
How to Prevent Baby Allergies
There are many allergens which can lead to lot of allergies. We discussed the most common allergens. Now, let us discuss how to prevent the most common allergies that occur in children.
1. Dust Mites
Dust mites are present in various clothings and carpets, they are also seen in bed covers, pillow covers etc.
The following care is to be taken by the parents in order to prevent allergies by dust mite or in order to stop progression of the disease.
- The mattress of the child should be covered tightly by a fabric woven around it, which is impenetrable. It is commonly found in stores selling allergy related products. Don’t use big and thick comforters, instead use thin blankets.
- Wash the bedcovers and beddings once every week in hot water (130 degree F).
- Keep away the fluffy and stuffed toys from your kid’s play room. They are the store rooms for dust mites. Wash the toys with which the child plays often, regularly with hot water.
- Clean the rooms with vacuum cleaner every now and then, when your child is not around. The cleaning can stir up the dust mites spread, so wipe the floor with a wet cloth to remove them.
- High efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) filter, which is present in few selected vacuum cleaners, can absorb even the microscopic particles. So, it is better to use such vacuum cleaners than normal vacuum cleaners.
- Also clean the filters of air conditioners and furnaces every now and then. They can also act as a store house for various dust mites.
- Severe allergy of the child should be taken care by replacing the carpets with smooth floor like wood.
During the windy days, the child is more prone to pollen allergy. It is very difficult to control the pollen from reaching the children when they play outdoors. Limiting the time of outdoor play, closing the windows of the bedrooms and washing the child’s hair and hands after he returns from playing, are the remedies to prevent child allergy to pollen.
3. Pet Dander
Pet dander can cause allergy in children and it should be identified at the right time. Nasal allergy is the common allergy that is caused due to pet dander, along with some kind of skin allergies.
You can keep your pet frequently washed with dander reducing shampoos. Also limit the time that the child plays with the pet. If the pet dander allergy continues, the last resort is to give away the Pet.
Mold is the common problem at the places where the weather is warm and air has humidity. So, moist and warm environment should be avoided by use of air conditioners and dehumidifiers in places where mold is the problem.
Clean bathrooms regularly with bleach or tea tree oil. Identify the places where mold is commonly grown and take necessary measures to avoid its growth.