Treating Seasonal Allergies in Babies
Combination of environmental allergens and genetics result in seasonal allergies in some babies. The body fights back by releasing histamine and other chemicals. It results in the inflammation of the nose and airways. If certain symptoms arise at the same time every year, it is a seasonal allergy.
Airborne allergens like pollen and mold trigger an immune reaction in the baby. A combination of environmental allergens and genetics result in the development of a seasonal allergy in some babies. Newborns usually have a very sensitive immune system that is always on guard against any substance foreign to the body.
Pollen and mold are not really dangerous substances but when an allergic baby inhales them, the body considers them to be dangerous. Thus, the body fights back by releasing histamine and other chemicals. The production of histamine results in the inflammation of the nose and airways. The other chemicals result in the development of symptoms of hay fever; runny nose, watering and itchiness in eyes and congestion.
Though hay fever is not seriously harmful, it may result in the baby getting tired easily, lack of sleep due to runny nose and lack of concentration.
Seasonal allergies – if left untreated for a long time – may also result in long-term effects on health like sinusitis, asthma and ear infections.
Allergies Or Just A Cold?
At first it may be difficult to tell apart an allergy from a normal cold. But, if the symptoms continue for more than 10 days, the baby probably has a seasonal allergy. Also if the mucus from the nose is clear and runny, it points towards an allergy. Red eyes that water and are itchy are a sign of an allergy and not a cold. The baby may also have dark circles under its eyes. It may also like to stay closed indoors like in a car or a room with the air conditioner on. If any of the above signs appear, the pediatrician is to be consulted immediately to ensure timely treatment.
It may also be difficult to distinguish between a seasonal allergy and a normal, year-round allergy. However, if certain symptoms arise at the same time every year, it is a seasonal allergy. If the parents are allergic, it is most likely that the baby is allergic too, though not necessarily to the same allergen.
Treating Allergies: To babies having a seasonal allergy, the exposure to outside air should be limited. Keep the windows and air ducts in the baby’s room closed. Bathe the baby daily so as to remove any allergens that might deposit on the baby’s skin or hair. Avoid drying the baby’s clothes on a clothesline in the open. Use an electric dryer instead.
If you yourself are unable to establish what your baby is allergic to, do not administer any medications without consulting with the pediatrician first. If the diagnosis of the allergy is difficult, the pediatrician may suggest blood or skin tests to determine the allergen the baby is allergic to. Skin tests are more accurate than blood tests so in case of severe symptoms, insist the doctor on a skin test rather than a blood test. Testing also helps in preventing the baby from future allergies by preventing exposure to the allergens causing it.