Now that the winter season is dwindling to an end, many people are looking forward to the warmer weather, blooming flowers, and outdoor activities that are coming their way. However, there are some people who don’t look forward to the spring as much as some people do. For those who suffer from spring or seasonal allergies, this time of year can be a nightmare.
Seasonal allergies raise a concern for many people, especially parents with a newborn, infant, or young child. Some may notice their little one’s nose constantly dripping, that troublesome cough, or their little fingers continuously rubbing their red and watery eyes. Many may think these common symptoms are the onset of a cold, however, their little one is affected by seasonal allergies. If you are a parent with an infant or young child, spring allergies may be a concern. To help parents better understand seasonal allergies in their little one, we put together a quick guide to infant and baby allergies.
ARE BABY SEASONAL ALLERGIES POSSIBLE?
This is a question that many parents often wonder, and they likely receive multiple answers. When parents start feeling the effects of seasonal allergies, they tend to think that is what is causing similar symptoms in their baby. However, the truth is, that even when pollen counts are sky-rocketed, it is unlikely that an infant is suffering from seasonal allergies. In fact, unless a baby is older than one year, seasonal allergies are very uncommon. Babies are more likely to have allergies to food and eczema, especially if they are in a family with a medical history of asthma, eczema, or hay fever. Unless a baby has significant exposure to allergens like grass, pollen, or ragweed allergies won’t be triggered. This is because allergies only develop after increasing exposure to allergens. However, as babies and infants grow, they become more susceptible to symptoms.
WHEN DO BABIES AND INFANTS GET SEASONAL ALLERGIES?
Many people believe that babies cannot develop allergies of any type under the age of two. As mentioned above, a baby can have a reaction to allergens that they are cumulatively exposed to. That said, because babies are barely exposed to seasonal allergens — like pollen, grass, and ragweed — it will likely not cause any symptoms to occur. It usually takes one allergy season for a baby’s immune system to react to certain allergens, at the very least. Depending on when they were born, it is unlikely that they develop seasonal allergies sooner than twelve to fifteen months.
WHAT TRIGGERS SEASONAL ALLERGIES IN LITTLE ONES?
People generally are affected by seasonal allergies during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. The climate in which one lives also plays an important role in triggering these allergies. Each time your infant is exposed one or multiple allergens, their immune systems eliminate antibodies that kick start the release of histamine into the bloodstream that triggers the symptoms we all despise. Let’s take a look at each season and the allergens that can trigger reactions and symptoms.
One of the most common triggers of spring allergies is tree pollen. Pollen can start being released into the air as early as January in some parts of the nation. However, this allergen doesn’t normally start affecting people until March and April, and they can last as long as August! Trees such as cedar, maple, pine, birch, and oak trees are the biggest producers of tree pollen in the states. If an infant continuously inhales pollen or it comes in contact with his or her skin, it can develop and lead to an allergy.
SPRING TO SUMMER ALLERGIES
The transition between spring and summer can be a burden for many. As mentioned, trees can still be releasing pollen into the air during this transition. Plus, with the fluctuating temperature, seasonal allergies are often triggered. During this time grass pollen is also added to the mix. Grasses like orchard, brome, and rye are likely to kickstart symptoms in the late spring and early summer, especially in the northern states. Again, if a baby is in this climate for more than one season, they are more likely to develop a reaction to these allergens.
SUMMER TO FALL ALLERGIES
Again a time of fluctuating temperature, the time period between the summer and fall is known to cause some reactions. This is when the pollen count is highest. If you notice common allergic reactions (more on that below). This is a time when weed pollen thrives. More specifically, ragweed is usually the culprit for many. It grows in just about every climate and is one of the biggest causes of hay fever. This is a common allergic reaction to pollen and causes the membranes in the nose to become inflamed, which can lead to sneezing and a runny nose. Hay fever can cause infants to sneeze, rub their irritated eyes, and have a runny nose. They may feel more tired than normal, too.
WHAT ARE INFANT AND BABY ALLERGY SYMPTOMS?
Most parents won’t notice seasonal allergy symptoms in their little one until after two years, as their immune systems will be more used to the allergens. A child with seasonal allergies may have a runny or stuffy nose, cumulative sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, a nagging cough, difficulty breathing, mood — the symptoms seem to be endless. Check out some other symptoms parents noticed in their little ones during allergy season:
- Irritated, running nose
- Swollen, watery, or itchy eyes
- Skin irritation
- Difficulty sleeping
- Inflamed throat
If these symptoms seem to take place at the same time during each allergy season, it is likely a sign that their immune systems are reacting to the allergens outside.
SEASONAL ALLERGY RELIEF TIPS FOR INFANTS AND TODDLERS
When little ones begin to show allergy symptoms, it can be devastating and can often lead to bigger problems, such as sinus and ear infections, if not treated properly. Allergists are qualified to determine what allergens are triggering certain symptoms and recommend the best treatments. However, if allergies aren’t as serious but still causing irritation, there is plenty of things parents can do to help provide their little one with allergy relief. Consider the following tips to limit your infant or toddler to those pesky allergens:
- Keep the windows closed during the morning and afternoon when pollen counts are the highest.
- Replace the air filters in your home’s HVAC vents.
- Regularly clean your home. Dust, wash bedding, and vacuum to keep allergies under control.
- Limit outdoor exposure on days that pollen counts are high.
- Bathe your little one daily to remove any pollen they came in contact with.
- Bathe outdoor pets frequently, as they could track in pollen and trigger reactions.
If symptoms are still raising concern after a couple of days, parents can always pay a visit to the doctor. Depending on their age, they may recommend a child-safe allergy prescription to reduce the existence symptoms. Allergy shots can be given too, but usually not for babies or infants.
Little ones certainly are susceptible to seasonal allergies, but it is uncommon for them to develop a reaction and show symptoms until after the age of two. When parent’s notice symptoms in their infant or toddler, they should do as much as they can to relieve them and increase their little one’s comfort.
As mentioned, one of the most common symptoms of seasonal allergies in children is a stuffy nose. When allergens are inhaled, membranes in the nose tend to become inflamed, which can make breathing difficult. Parents can help clear their child’s stuffy nose with oogiebear, a booger removal tool for babies, infants, and toddlers. This baby booger picker tool can come in handy during allergy season, as it safely and effectively cleans your baby’s nose.