Types of Baby Allergies – The Detailed Guide for Parents

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Types of baby allergies? So how many are there?

I don’t want to scare you, but, there are quite a few. And the worse part is that the symptoms may not even look like an allergic reaction! So this post is all about the types of baby allergies.

Remember, how your new born baby’s skin looked, when he or she was born. Feathery soft and flawless skin, isn’t it!!! So you might be scared when something shows up on their skin. Sometimes it could be a mild allergy or at times it happens to be very bothersome.

types of baby allergies

You might have heard of food allergies but there are many more types of allergies that you might not have heard of.

So today through this article I would like to give you a detailed picture of common types of allergens, types of allergies in babies, its diagnosis, preventive measures, and few suggestions.
But before heading into more details, let me explain you what is an allergen and what an allergy is.

What is an allergen?

An allergen is the triggering substance responsible for an allergy. An allergen usually appears to be a harmless substance. The very common allergens are pollen (tree, plant), hair and fur of pet animals, mold, dust mites, cigarette smoke, polluted air, foods like egg, peanuts, milk and milk products.

What is an allergy for a baby?

Our immune system are the soldiers of our body fighting against the enemies invading the skin barrier.

And then sometimes this happens!!!

These guys become so over protective and go overboard resulting in wrong identification of certain good friends as the enemy. This leads to allergy in babies.

What happens during an allergic reaction?

During an allergic reaction, baby’s immune system produces immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies which alert the mast cells (mast cells are the fighting cells of our body). These mast cells then attach with IgE antibodies and attack the allergens. This affect baby’s organ system and shows varying symptoms.
When the same allergen enters the body next time, the immune system easily identifies the sensitised allergen and releases histamine responsible for allergic reaction and the whole process is called sensitisation.

Are allergies common in babies and why?

As far as I can tell, from the various research data that I have read, allergies in children has been appearing at greater rates, in the last few years.
I can’t figure out the actual cause and point out a single reason for this tremendous increase.

It could be because of our modern lifestyle or our polluted environment.

Another question arises about whether to blame the extreme cleanliness that we are practicing today.  We have more chemical based sanitisers and household cleaning solutions which is also killing beneficial microbes along with the bad ones.

Apart from that, our children getting rare chances to play outdoors in mud and sand thus giving their immune systems less chance to fight often.
Remember the good old days of our childhood, we used to play in mud, sand, water and most of us have not ever been affected with any forms of allergy.

How did my baby get allergies?

If any forms of allergy run in your family, chances are there some kids will inherit it from their parents. Babies with no family history can also develop allergies, and some kids develop allergies of unknown reason.

How to identify or detect whether my baby is having any forms of allergies?

Careful monitoring is the only solution for this.

If you doubt your baby is having any forms of allergies, carefully monitor your baby to identify the allergen.

Early identification of your baby’s allergy will help your kid’s overall health and reduce frequent hospital visits in future.
I have heard from one of my friend that it’s always very difficult to differentiate a cold from allergic symptoms. The symptoms of both these usually appears to be similar.

difference between cold and allergy

So, check the following clue. When your baby is infected with cold virus, the symptoms will be like thick mucus discharge after the first two days of infection accompanied by fever and go away within a week, but in case of allergy it will be continuous thin watery discharge without any fever, sometimes followed by persistent wheezing and it won’t go away in one week or 10 days like cold.

Other allergic conditions like food allergy and eczema are very easy to identify by certain symptoms which I have detailed below.

You have to seek medical help for any forms of allergy in your baby.

Most common allergens in babies and kids:

#1. Pollen

pollen

Pollen from trees, grasses and weeds are very common allergens which are responsible for hay fever.

How to fix it?

Make your baby stay indoor when it’s very windy. If going out with your baby, always wrap your baby properly. Give your baby a bath soon after coming from outside.

#2. Dust mites

dust allergy

Dust mites are a common allergen that usually dwells on beds and cushions.

How to fix it?

Clean up your baby’s toys, bed sheets, sofa cushions and curtains. Vacuum regularly.

#3. Pets

pets

Pets are the source of allergens like fur, skin flakes, dried urine and even saliva.

How to fix it?

If your baby is diagnosed with any forms of allergy, it’s always better to keep your pets outside or else limit them from your baby’s room. Wash and groom pets regularly.

Also read: 10 Benefits of Pets for Children You Didn’t Know About

#4. Milk

milk

The proteins present in cow’s milk act as an allergen for some babies. And hence breast fed babies shows lesser risk than formula fed babies.

As I said, milk is an allergen, but don’t confuse milk allergy with lactose intolerance which is entirely different. Lactose intolerance is the body showing trouble in digesting the milk proteins.

How to fix it?

Try to breast feed your baby in the first six months completely. If your baby is formula fed, try hydrolysed milk formula after consulting your pediatrician. I have explained about hydrolysed milk formula towards the end of this article.

Also read: 

Try to breast feed your baby in the first six months completely. If your baby is formula fed, try hydrolysed milk formula after consulting your pediatrician. I have explained about hydrolysed milk formula towards the end of this article.

#5. Nuts

nuts

Peanuts and tree nuts are the most common food allergies in children.

How to fix it?

If your child has nut allergy, always check for ingredient labels in packaged foods. Nut traces can be found in some packaged foods. Take care when going to restaurants and mention them not to add any form of nuts in food.

#6.  Wheat/rye/barley

wheat

Allergic reactions to wheat are most common in infants and usually settles within the first few years. Babies showing allergy to wheat most often have allergies with rye and barley also.

How to fix it?

Avoid wheat/rye/barley and wheat-based foods from your baby’s diet. Always check ingredient labels before buying any store-bought packaged foods.

#7. Yeast

yeast allergy

Yeast is a beneficial fungus which is present in human body, ripe fruits, and bread products. Rarely, it acts as an allergen for some babies.

How to fix it?

Make sure you don’t over feed your baby with yeast containing foods. Sometimes more yeast will lead to allergies.

What are the most common allergy symptoms in babies?

Most of the allergic symptoms are not problematic but few are particularly alarm. Symptoms the baby will show depends upon the allergens and the baby’s organ system affected. The severity of symptoms can increase over time and it varies from child to child.

#1. Nasal congestion

Nasal congestion is the stuffy nose, which makes small babies very difficult to breath. They start breathing through the mouth especially during night times leading to restless sleep and all cranky the next day. This should be treated otherwise will affect your baby’s teething and facial bones.

#2. Allergic salute

This is one of the symptoms of nasal allergy. Due to itchiness in nose, the kids tend to scratch their nose always as if they are saluting and hence the name.

#3. Coughing and wheezing

Wheezing is the whistle-sound breathing your baby produces and is the sign that your baby having difficulty in breathing.

Babies respiratory tract is very tiny and sensitive. Their airways will bulge up in response to allergens making them cough. Cough will later progress to wheezing.

#4. Allergic shiners

This is the dark circle found under the eyes due to food allergies or respiratory tract allergies.

#5. Ear infections

Allergies can also bring ear infection to babies. Certain allergic reactions cause accumulation of fluids in baby’s ears leading to inflammation of ear, ear infections, ear itching, ear pain and sometimes will lead to hearing loss.

Your baby may pull or tugs at his/her ear frequently and this could be the sign that your child have an ear infection. But remember babies also pull their ears without any reasons.

#6. Allergic conjunctivitis

Allergic conjunctivitis symptoms look very similar to pink eye. Babies with this condition will have a red itchy eye with some discharge, dark circle around the eye and they often rub their eyes.

#7. Rashes and hives

Its normal to get mild rashes in babies and disappears by its own by 2-3 months’ age. But the allergic rashes are different.

The most commonly seen allergic rashes in babies is eczema and those which are rarely seen is the classic allergic rash known as hives.

#8. Childhood eczema

It’s a red itchy flaky patch commonly seen on baby’s cheeks. It also appears on baby’s scalp, forehead, neck, forearms, and legs.

Eczema is one of the first sign of an allergy. Babies will get tempted to scratch that area during night times.

For eczema, follow simple bathing routine using fragrance free products, apply ointment or cream base moisturizer than liquid lotions to lock the moisture.

#9. Vomiting, diarrhoea and gassiness

These allergic symptoms can result from food allergies as well as other environmental allergies.

#10. Behavioral problems

Your baby will seem to be always crying, cranky and clingy due to some allergic symptoms and this will result in behavioral problems like not eating or sleeping properly.

Types of baby allergies and their symptoms

Now let us look at the various types of types of baby allergies.

Respiratory allergies

Allergens are airborne like dust, mould or pollen and affect the respiratory system.

Its symptoms are

✓ Cough
✓ Sneezing
✓ Asthma
✓ Runny nose
✓ Watery eyes

Oral allergy syndrome (OAS) is one of the condition occurs when your child has a pollen allergy and if he/she eats certain raw fruits such as apples, peaches, or nectarines. Itching, tingling or swelling of the lips, mouth or throat can occur.

❖ Contact allergies

Allergens may be metals, fragrances, soap, detergent, wool clothing, or other irritant that has touched baby’s body. This cause allergies and affect babies skin.

Its symptoms

✓ Blisters
✓ Itching
✓ Burning sensation
✓ Inflammation

❖ Seasonal allergies

Allergic reactions occur in any seasons like summer or spring or autumn or winter depending upon the type of allergens.

Seasonal allergies are commonly known as allergic rhinitis or hay fever. Don’t confuse by its name “hay fever” as its neither triggered by hay nor cause any fever.

Its symptoms

✓ Sneezing
✓ Runny and itchy nose
✓ Nasal congestion
✓ Postnasal drip
✓ Watery and red eyes
✓ Ear problems

❖ Food allergies

Here certain foods act as an allergen and affects the gastrointestinal system. Peanuts, eggs, milk, wheat, soy, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish are the main ones. Few babies outgrow food allergies but for others it will stick for their entire life.

Its symptoms

✓ Diarrhoea
✓ Flatulence
✓ Eczema
✓ Swelling of throat
✓ Skin rashes

❖ Coeliac disease

Coeliac disease, otherwise known as gluten sensitive enteropathy is a hereditary autoimmune disease caused by gluten present in wheat, rye and barley.

The allergic reaction disturbs the lining of the gut and intestine affecting the absorption of food.

Its symptoms

✓ Diarrhoea
✓ Bloating
✓ Lethargy
✓ Anaemia
✓ Nutritional deficiencies
If your baby is diagnosed with coeliac disease, a gluten-free diet will stop these symptoms.

❖ Delayed onset or non-IgE mediated allergies

Few kids show delayed reactions to certain foods. Here IgE antibodies doesn’t involve in the mechanism. So, this type of allergy is very hard to identify. The symptoms also last longer than other type of allergies.

Its symptoms

✓ Diarrhoea
✓ Reflux
✓ Constipation
✓ Colic
✓ Eczema

❖ Anaphylaxis

It’s otherwise called anaphylactic shock is one of a very life threatening allergic reactions resulting in the airway compression.

The common causes of anaphylactic reactions are peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, and insect stings.

Its symptoms

✓ Wheezing
✓ Dizziness
✓ Itchy skin
✓ Breathing difficulties
✓ Throat and tongue swelling
✓ Sudden drop in blood pressure

Diagnosing an allergy

diagnosing allergy

If you doubt your child is having any allergy, the first thing you do is to take your child to a pediatrician to find what he/she is allergic to. He will do the initial evaluation and refer to a pediatric allergist if he doubts your child having any allergies.

The pediatric allergist diagnoses an allergy by doing either one of the test – allergy skin prick test, blood test or intradermal skin test (old technique which is not used nowadays much). These tests are performed to find the specific IgE to a specific allergen which trigger the reaction for your baby.

• Skin prick test

In this test, a tiny amount of allergic material is pricked onto your baby’s skin. If he/she is allergic to that particular substance they will develop hives.

• Blood tests

This is another way to detect allergies. This test quantifies the amount of specific IgE antibodies in the blood that have been produced by your child’s immune reaction to the specific allergen.

But if your baby has some delayed allergic reactions, these tests are not functional for diagnosing those.

How do I treat an allergy in my baby?

allergy relief

Always keep your baby away from the allergen that causes the reaction. The best part is that a lot of kids outgrow their allergies.

The treatment options available are:

➢ Medications – Antihistamines and topical steroids

Medications are not taken to cure any allergy. Antihistamines and tropical steroids are only to ease your babies’ symptoms like itching, rashes, runny nose, and other symptoms.

Oral antihistamine Zyrtec is widely used and accepted over-the-counter antihistamine available for babies and kids.

But always seek your pediatrician’s or pharmacist’s advice before using any over-the-counter antihistamines or topical steroids.

➢ Allergy shots or immunotherapy or desensitisation

In immunotherapy or allergy shots, your child will be exposed to small amounts of allergens, cautiously increasing the doses of the allergen to desensitize him or her.

Desensitisation is normally recommended for the treatment of severe allergies such as hay fever and pet allergies.

Epipen

EpiPen is a syringe filled with a dose of epinephrine. Children with severe allergies such as anaphylaxis are advised to keep this with them always.

Can my baby school regularly in future, if he/she is diagnosed with any allergy?

Yes, of course, but take the following steps:

✓ Inform your child’s school about your kid’s allergy and hand over them a copy of medications if any.
✓ If your kid has dust allergy, ask the teacher to make her sit away from the blackboard to avoid chalk dust. But nowadays most schools use white board.
✓ Get advice from your doctor whether your child can participate in school sports events.

Give me suggestions on how to keep my baby’s allergies at bay?

You can sooth or reduce your baby’s allergy symptoms with the following approaches.

#1. The simple mantra is to avoid the allergen and to instruct your child’s grandparents, other caregivers who spent more time with your kid and in day care schools to keep away the triggering substance from your child.

#2. If your child has a serious allergy problem, let know the caregivers about the symptoms and how to handle it in case of emergency.

#3. Use hypoallergenic partially hydrolysed formula for milk allergies if you are not breastfeeding. Partially hydrolysed formula are specially made formulas with very smaller broken up pieces of proteins which cannot be virtually detected by your baby’s immune system. This will reduce the risk of developing allergies in babies.

#4. Use dust-mite-proof bedding materials for your little one.

#5. Use skin moisturizers regularly for dry skin.

#6. Use nasal saline for the nasal congestion.

#7. Switch to hypoallergenic laundry detergent, soaps, and other products if your kid is allergic to detergents, soaps etc.

#8. Clean your home regularly to decrease the concentration of dust, mould, etc.

#9. Avoid carpeting (especially in baby’s room) and if using carpets, vacuum carpets at least once a week. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, which really works for removing allergens.

#10. Keep your pets outside or else limit them from your baby’s room. Wash and groom pets regularly.

#11. Wait until your child is 1 year old to introduce common allergens, such as wheat, peanuts, and cow’s milk. But there is no evidence-proven that this approach works to prevent allergies. In some recent scientific journals, they have said that it’s good to introduce small amounts of potentially allergenic food in earlier months and not to hold off till 1 year to prevent food allergies.

PS: It is better to consult your baby’s pediatrician on this matter and follow accordingly

Also readSeven Day Rule – Before introducing solids to your baby

  • When your baby is ready, introduce foods that you and your family usually eats. If possible, continue to breastfeed while you introduce solid foods.
  •  Introduce one new food at a time so that if an allergic reaction shows up, it’s easy to identify the triggering substance and always keep a note on the symptoms occurred whenever your kid is introduced to something new.
  • If your kid show allergic reaction to any food, immediately stop that food and consult your doctor. Also, consult your doctor before trying certain foods which are allergic to other family members.
  • Avoid foods containing additives which shows allergic reactions in few kids. Processed foods contain more additives.
  • Avoid smoking inside home

Allergies are common in children and it can occur at any age and at any time. Most of the kids will outgrow allergies. Keep close monitoring your kid to identify any forms of allergic reactions and act accordingly.

I hope this article has taught you about types of baby allergies and will guide you effectively.

About Author

A darling wife of Vijay Varadarajan and a lovely mom to Rithvik. A Biotechnology post graduate, Jayalekshmy quit her job the very next day she became pregnant. Realized her passion for cooking after Rithvik came into their life and now loves to experiment different cuisines. Her other interests are home interior decoration, gardening, internet surfing,a bit photography and whatsaap chatting with her loved ones.

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