How to Tell if Your Child or Baby Has Allergies - Hope Paige

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How to Tell if Your Child or Baby has Allergies

kid-with-allergies-sneezing

(APRIL 2014) It’s common for kids to come home with sniffles, colds and other various bugs, but it can make it difficult to separate an illness from an allergy. It’s important to pay close attention and determine what your child is going through. While some allergies are just annoying, others can be dangerous if you’re not aware of them.

So how do you separate an allergy from a cold or an upset stomach after a meal? You just have to know the signs. Take a look at our tips below to keep a watch for potential allergies.

Nasal Allergies

The symptoms of nasal allergies are easy to confuse with those of the common cold, especially in young children. Runny nose, watery eyes, cough, congestion and sneezing are common allergic reactions, but you can differentiate from cold symptoms if you know how to look. BabyCenter.com offers these tips:

  • Does it seem like your child always has a cold? Colds usually wind down in a week to 10 days; allergies don't.
  • Is your child's nose continually stuffy or running?
  • Is she constantly wiggling, wiping, or pushing her nose up in what doctors call the allergic salute?
  • Is the mucus that drains from her nose clear and thin (as opposed to yellow or greenish and thick)?
  • Does she seem to sneeze a lot?
  • Are her eyes itchy, red and watery?
  • Does the skin under her eyes look dark or purple or blue – what doctors call allergic shiners?
  • Does she breathe through her mouth?
  • Does she have a persistent dry cough?

The most common allergies in kids are asthma and hay fever, which causes nasal itching and congestion, but they also include things like skin rashes and food allergies, so keep an eye for other common allergens.

Food Allergies

Research is discovering that food allergies are more common and more serious than previously thought. A 2011 survey showed that 8% of kids under the age of 18 were allergic to at least one food, so how can you identify a food allergy in your child, even a baby? Well, it’s easier than you might think.

Unlike environmental allergies, food allergy reactions usually occur very quickly after the food is eaten – just a few minutes to a few hours. Skin rashes can be a mild reaction to a food, but there are many more severe reactions that you should be on the lookout for:

  • Hives or welts
  • Flushed skin or rash
  • Face, tongue, or lip swelling
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of consciousness

Severe reactions like trouble breathing, swelling in the face or lips, severe diarrhea and unconsciousness can turn fatal very quickly – especially in babies. You should call 911 immediately if your child develops any of these reactions to a food.

Given the danger of a severe reaction, it’s important to start kids on different foods gradually when they are young and carefully take note of how foods affect them. If a food seems to cause a poor reaction, take that item out of the meal rotation until you can isolate an allergic reaction, and then get them tested by your family physician. The most common food allergies include peanuts (about 2% of all children), milk, shellfish, tree nuts, eggs, fin fish, strawberries, wheat and soy.

Genetics

Just because you have an allergy doesn’t mean your children will inherit the same allergy, but kids do inherit their parents’ tendency to be allergic to something. If you have an allergy, there’s about a 50% chance your child will have an allergy of some kind, but if both parents have allergies that rate jumps to more than 75%. But don’t assume that your child shares an allergy with you.

Safety

If you’ve determined that your child does suffer from an allergy, you need to take precautions to ensure they are safe when they’re away from your side. Hope Paige offers a wide range of fashionable medical alert jewelry specially designed for kids. You’ll get peace of mind knowing that teachers and medical personnel can handle any allergic reactions.