The goal of this A-Z guide is to help you recognize baby allergy symptoms and understand what really causes allergies in babies.
- Any parent with a baby who is suffering from allergies needs to be well-informed in order to make correct and rational decisions about the optimal care of the baby's health.
The answers you will find here are science -backed responses to those questions about baby allergy symptoms frequently asked of by worried parents.[/li]
What is Allergy?
An allergy is immune system’s abnormal and adverse response to things that are harmless to other people.
- The word allergy comes from the Greek word allos, which means “an altered state.”
Allergies are common in babies and children. They usually disappear when the child grows older, yet sometimes may continue into adult life.
If your baby is allergic to something, it means her immune system thinks the substance—food, dust, pollen, medicines, and so on—is harmful to her body. In response, it sends off a false alarm in the form of an allergic reaction.
More clearly, to protect your baby's body from the substance it thinks is harmful, her immune system produces antibodies to that allergen.
These antibodies cause certain cells in your baby's body to release chemicals into her bloodstream called histamine.
- This histamine is what causes the annoying reaction in the baby's eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin, or intestinal tract, which is why adults take a medication called an antihistamine to make the allergic reaction stop.
As immune system has a memory, whenever your baby's immune system comes across an allergen , it will produce more antibodies faster than the time before.
Baby Allergy Symptoms: How to tell if your baby has an allergy?
Baby allergy symptoms vary depending on what parts of the body are affected.
Common Baby Allergy Symptoms include:
- Digestive system (includes stomach and intestines): Spitting up of food, nausea, vomiting and colicky behaviour in the young baby (including pulling away from the breast), slow weight gain, stomach pain, diarrhoea, poor appetite.
- Respiratory system (includes lungs, throat and nose): Runny nose, sneezing, wheezing, asthma, recurring attacks of bronchitis or croup, persistent cough.
- Skin: Rashes, hives, other eczema.
- Other: Headache, disturbed sleep, irritability, crying fits.
Many children have allergies in three areas—nose, the skin and lungs. When this occurs, it is called the atopic triad. Yet allergies in children might move from one area of the body to another. About 10 to 15 percent of all young children develop allergies in their skin (atopic dermatitis, also called eczema) during infancy and early childhood. Atopic dermatitis is a very itchy red rash that comes and goes.
A lot of youngsters outgrow this allergy by age ﬁve to eight, only later to develop hay fever or other allergies in their noses. About half of all children with atopic dermatitis also develop asthma.
- Unlike most of the common childhood illnesses (such as measles and chickenpox), an allergy have many symptoms, and these symptoms differ widely from child to child.
Allergies are not infectious and cannot be transmitted from child to child.
What Causes Allergies?
Although people have been suffering from allergies for many many years, scientists have only recently begun to understand what causes allergies.
A foreign protein that is harmless to a non-allergic person usually cause an allergic reaction. This protein is called an “allergen.”
Almost any foreign protein can be an allergen to your baby.
Common causes of allergies in infants are:
- Foods: Eggs, peanut butter; sometimes oranges, soya beans, chocolate, tomatoes, fish and wheat.
- Airborne particles: Dust mites, pollens, animal hair and moulds.
- Food Additives: Colourings, flavourings and preservatives. Additives are found in many prepared foods (e.g. lollies, sauces, ice-cream, cordial, soft drinks, biscuits, savoury snacks and processed meats).
- Dairy Products: Particularly cow’s milk, has almost the same symptoms (stomach pain and diarrhoea) as those that occur when a baby has lactose intolerance, which is when he or she cannot digest the sugar (lactose) in dairy products.
- Soaps and Detergents: They can cause a chemical irritation of the skin and aggravate some skin conditions.
What Are Allergens?
An allergen is any substance that triggers the production by the human immune system of a special antibody called Immunoglobulin E-IgE for short.
- Foods: peanuts, nuts, fish, eggs, milk, chocolate
- Inhalant alIergens: house dust mites; mold spores; cat and dog dander and saliva; birds and feathers; cockroaches; pollen from trees, weeds and grasses
- Contact allergens: poison oak., poison ivy, and nickel (found injewe1ry), latex rubber, and cosmetic ingredients, all of which can cause allergic reactions that occur mainly in the skin
- Drugs: penicillin, sulfa, aspirin, and ibuprofen
- Insect venoms: honeybee, wasp, yellow jacket, hornet, and fire ant
- Chemicals: MDI and TDI-diisocyanates (plastics and paints)
Types of Allergic Reactions
Types of allergic reactions are usually categorized by what causes them, the part of the body most affected, and other features.
There are about as many types of allergies as there are sufferers of allergy.
They are generally classified according to what causes them, or the symptoms they cause.
Types of allergic reactions include:
- Allergic rhinitis or hay fever, the most common form of allergy.
- Hives, also known as chronic urticaria.
- Skin rashes.
- Anaphylactic Shock.
Allergens might cause a reaction in a couple of ways:
- Ingestion, or through skin contact.
Milder allergic reactions come in the form of slightly itchy eyes, a runny nose, itchy throat, or other uncomfortable symptoms.
- Severe allergic reactions, on the other hand, may threaten your life and should be taken seriously.
- Fortunately, these severe anaphylactic allergic reactions are rare, and they can be successfully treated if you follow the proper medical procedures.