Babies can experience allergy symptoms. However, they’re typically due to harmless substances, like soap or a specific food, including breast milk. While they rarely suffer from environmental allergies, their sensitive skin makes them more susceptible to having rashes.
In fact, it’s common for them to have skin rashes in their first days or weeks of life as their sensitive skins adapt to a new environment. It’s also normal for them to have nasal congestion because their nasal passages are still developing and relatively small.
However, it’s crucial to determine and treat allergic symptoms in babies as soon as possible. Allowing them to go untreated for a prolonged period of time may potentially lead to complications, such as respiratory problems. Instead, as parents, keep in mind the following.
See A Pediatrician
It’s highly recommended to consult a pediatrician as soon as you notice allergic symptoms in your baby. You can now do it at home over a phone or video call. Self-learning online could help, but seeking professional help is safer.
The problem with babies’ allergic symptoms is that they can be harder to determine compared to older kids and adults. If you mistakenly treat your baby’s symptoms due to misdiagnosis, you’ll likely just worsen their situation or unintentionally hurt your baby.
If you can’t see a doctor after the phone consultation, ensure to clean your baby’s surroundings. Sanitize baby items and keep their sheets clean. Get rid of dirty liquids or choking hazards for your baby’s play area. It’s recommended to find the perfect play mat for your baby from the start. It must be comfortable, non-allergenic, anti-bacterial, non-toxic, and self-ventilating.
Use Warm or Cold Water
Not only babies’ surroundings but also the babies themselves should be kept clean. Use warm and cold water to bathe them. They’re generally safe and even medically recommended.
Here are common allergic symptoms in babies that can be safely relieved with warm or cold water at home:
- Itchy eyes – Use a cold compress to relieve them. Either wrap ice on a towel or use a cold, wet washcloth. Place the cold compress on the baby’s closed eyes, but only briefly.
- Sinus pressure – Use warm water to get rid of any pollen or allergens attached to your baby’s skin. Then, place a warm compress on their nose to warm up their sinus passages.
- Congested sinuses – Take your baby into a steam-filled bathroom or let them inhale hot steam from a bowl of hot water. This technique is called steam inhalation, and it’s effective in loosening up mucus in the chest, moisturizing the nasal cavity, and preventing dried-up mucus from blocking your baby’s airway.
- Dermatitis – bathe your baby’s irritated skin with baby-friendly soap and warm water. If your baby’s skin is dry, apply a baby-friendly aloe vera gel or fragrance-free moisturizer on your baby’s skin.
For warm water, it should be between 37°C and 38°C (98.6-100°F). Remember that your baby’s skin is 20-30% thinner than yours, so ensure the water is warm, not hot. Always test the water with your elbow or wrist or a bath thermometer to get the right temperature.
Note that although hot and cold water are natural and baby-friendly, they only give temporary relief to babies with mild allergic symptoms. They should never be used for an extended period and treat severe allergic reactions. If symptoms persist and worsen, immediately see a pediatrician.
Diet Adaptation and Changes
Determine your baby’s allergies as soon as they can eat solid foods, usually after six months. This isn’t meant to put your baby in danger but to minimize and prevent the risks of severe and fatal allergy symptoms in the future, especially if your family has a history of allergies. It’s important not to delay the food introduction. Research has shown that introducing foods in delay, beyond 6-12 months, increases babies’ risk of allergy development.
Here’s a list of food allergens common in babies:
- Dairy products
- Nuts and peanuts
- Gluten foods
- Seafood, particularly shellfish (like mussels, clams, and oysters) and fishes
However, DON’T give the following to your baby:
- Lightly cooked or raw shellfish, fish, and eggs – They may carry salmonella and other foodborne pathogens that can cause food poisoning.
- Whole nuts, peanuts, and seeds – For children aged under 4, they’re choking hazards. Ground or crush them first before serving them to babies.
When introducing these foods to your baby, ensure to give them in small amounts, one at a time.If your baby is allergic to them, they’ll quickly have symptoms within a few minutes. Such reactions include:
- Runny nose
- Itchy eyes
- Watery eyes
- Itchy skin
- Red rashes
Rest assured, these allergic symptoms are mild and can be relieved with warm or cold water. However, don’t immediately cut the food that caused your baby’s allergic reaction without a doctor’s advice, especially if it’s a major food for babies like milk.
Don’t also test it out again to ensure that your baby is really allergic to it. Instead, take note of the food allergen and your baby’s allergic symptoms, then see a pediatrician as soon as possible. Depending on your baby’s allergy, they’ll require laboratory tests, recommend diet changes suitable for your baby, and prescribe medicines like EpiPen.
Antihistamines are the first-line medications to relieve and treat allergic symptoms. However, don’t give them to your babies. They aren’t recommended for infants aged below 2. They may be contraindicated for them, causing side effects like dizziness, sedation, incoordination, hypoventilation or respiratory depression (slow, shallow breathing rate), coma, and even death. Again, when it comes to treatment decisions and the health of your baby, always seek medical advice.