Most teachers say that working around children is great for the immune system. For the first few months, they might catch every single thing that goes around the classroom, but eventually their bodies build up a strong defense system, and they get sick far less often.
If only Baby could reach that point! At this young age, her immune system is especially vulnerable. Sometimes there’s not much more you can do than grab a tissue or put Baby down for a nap. Other times though, it’s not an illness, but respiratory allergies – that is, allergies that affect the chest, skin, eyes, and nose – that are to blame. You’ll want to know this for sure so that you and Baby can tackle the problem head on.
What exactly causes a respiratory allergic reaction?
Baby’s immune system is always at work, helping her fight off external threats that could impact her health. But in the case of a respiratory allergic reaction, her body considers things that aren’t a threat to be unsafe to her, and when she makes contact with them, these things set off a chemical reaction in her body. This reaction is meant to protect her, but it ends up causing more discomfort than necessary.
What’s the difference between a respiratory allergy and a food allergy?
A food allergy is a reaction triggered from eating a certain type of food or from eating an allergen that was on food. A respiratory allergy happens when someone breathes in allergens that are in the air. Both reactions share some symptoms, especially stomach discomfort, nausea, or vomiting. But food allergies tend to cause more symptoms related to the abdomen and the stomach, whereas respiratory allergies cause more of a reaction in the nose, chest, and lungs.
What are some common things that cause a respiratory allergic reaction?
There are lots of things that can cause an allergic reaction. Some of the most common are pollen from different plants, bug bites, pet fur or hair, dust mites, and grass pollen.
What are symptoms to look for that signify a respiratory allergic reaction?
- Skin: Hives or bumps
- Breathing: Coughing, wheezing, or any other difficulty breathing
- Eyes: Itchy, watery, red and irritated
- Nose: Itchy, congested, or running
- Stomach: Possible discomfort, nausea, or even vomiting
Two symptoms that signify either a cold or allergies
While it’s difficult to distinguish some of the above symptoms from the symptoms of a cold, two things in particular could help you tell what’s affecting Baby.
- A fever: Testing Baby’s temperature for a fever can help you determine whether she has a cold or allergies. Allergies normally won’t cause a fever, so if she has one, Baby is more likely to be suffering from a cold than allergies.
- Red eyes that Baby keeps itching: On the flip side, red and itchy eyes don’t usually accompany a cold – but they go hand in hand with an allergic reaction.
At this age it will be difficult to prevent respiratory allergic reactions, especially seasonal ones. But if you suspect Baby might have allergies, the best way to figure out a plan of attack is to take her to a healthcare provider who can observe her and do some testing. While lots of children grow out of these kinds of allergies, it will be helpful to know what’s going on so that you can make Baby as comfortable as possible.
- “All About Allergies.” KidsHealth. Nemours, 1995-2016. Web.
- “Allergies.” NHS choices. National Health Service, December 2 2016. Web.
- “Who has allergies and why: Children and allergies.” American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, 2014. Web.