Common baby allergies include allergies to foods like nuts, milk, seafood, etc. An allergy occurs when the immune system of your baby reacts to substances that are usually considered harmless for most people. These substances are called as allergens and are found in dust mites, pets, pollen, insects, ticks, foods and also in some medications. Your baby can have an allergy at any time of the year. Infant allergy medicines include antihistamines, decongestants, or nasal steroid sprays.
Common baby allergies
Common allergies in infancy and childhood include indoor or outdoor airborne allergies as well as food allergies. Indoor allergies are mainly caused due to house dust which includes fine cloth fibres, lint, mould, mildew, paint peelings, pet dander, and hair. Seasonal allergies also called as hay fever, are caused due to outdoor allergens like spores released from moulds and trees, pollen released from grasses and weeds into the air. In a baby, allergy symptoms include:
- Itchy nose and/or throat
- Nasal congestion
- Clear, runny nose
What are the common food allergies in babies?
The most common food allergies in babies vary, but milk is the single most common one. Other common food allergens include:
- Nuts such as peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, cashews
Allergy to rice, wheat, and chicken has also been reported recently in India.
Symptoms of nut allergy and other food allergens are easily identifiable, and they include:
- Itchy skin or hives with an appearance of small spots
- An itching sensation in or around the mouth or throat area
- A runny or congested nose
- Anaphylaxis (less common) – it is a life-threatening reaction that causes swelling in the throat, impairs breathing and results in a sudden drop in the blood pressure, pale skin, blue lips, and dizziness.
Mothers with babies that have a food allergy should be careful to avoid those food items. Maintaining a food diary can help to track down the allergies your baby may have.
Milk protein allergy and milk intolerance in babies; are they the same?
Milk protein allergy and milk intolerance are often confused with each other, but they are not the same. An immune reaction to one or more proteins in the milk (for instance, cow’s milk) causes milk allergy. In comparison, milk intolerance is caused due to an inability to digest a substance in milk, lactose, and does not involve the immune system.
Recognizing milk allergy symptoms in your baby is very important. They include stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhoea, rashes, hives, eczema, and difficulty in breathing. Milk protein intolerance symptoms like bloating, stomach ache, vomiting and diarrhoea are often mistaken for milk allergy symptoms. An easy way to differentiate between the two - symptoms such as rashes, hives, and difficulty in breathing occur specifically with milk protein allergy only.
If you suspect that your baby is allergic, schedule an appointment with a paediatrician immediately. It is important that the allergen is recognized timely, and measures are taken to prevent further exposure. As far as allergies are concerned, prevention is surely better than cure!