Allergies in babies and childrenAllergies in children are unfortunately often not recognizable at first glance. Often the symptoms can hide other diseases or it is not a suspected allergy, but only an intolerance. Therefore, it is important to observe the symptoms and take them seriously in any case. A visit to the doctor can also be useful. Learn more about allergies in babies and children.
What are allergies?
Normally, our body is able to distinguish between harmless and harmful influences. This means, for example, that it fights against pathogens, but leaves harmless bacteria alone.
If the immune system is not sufficiently strengthened or is particularly sensitive due to a family history, the body may no longer be able to make a distinction between "good" and "bad". It also fends off the stimuli that should not actually be a problem for us. For example, foods that are easily tolerated by a healthy person may not be tolerated by an allergy sufferer. Learn more about allergies& Health.
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Allergy triggers at a glance
Not every child is automatically at risk of allergies. However, there are some factors that significantly increase the risk of allergy, so it may be that the baby develops an allergy over time.
Potential triggers for allergies include:
High exposure to pollutants
If your child is frequently exposed to cigarette smoke, mold or, for example, car exhaust fumes, this can increase the risk of allergies.
If a member of your family is allergic, this increases the risk of allergies. If this even affects more than one family member, and if the allergies are different, your child may also be at very high risk for allergies.
Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency can also increase the risk of allergies. This is due to the fact that sufficient vitamin D is needed to optimally carry out all processes in the body and to supply all organs. If this is not the case, there is a higher susceptibility to allergies.
Washing or even disinfecting too often can contribute to an increased risk of allergies. This is due to the fact that in this case the body does not learn at all to deal with potential pathogens and to fight them off.
Common Allergy Triggers
Suspect that your pet suffers from allergies? Learn more about allergy triggers in children.
Allergy in cesarean babies
Especially children born by cesarean section have an increased risk of allergies due to an altered intestinal flora at birth and in the first weeks of life. This is additionally increased by the fact that the expectant mother is usually treated with antibiotics during the cesarean section. Various environmental influences also contribute to the intestines being in an imbalance.
Allergy risk after a cesarean section
Thanks to modern medicine, a C-section is usually safe for both mother and baby. However, cesarean babies have an increased risk of allergies.
Allergy symptoms – how to recognize an allergy
Allergy symptoms depend primarily on the allergy in question. Therefore, it is important that you first learn what allergies there are in the first place.
The following allergy symptoms can also occur with other conditions. Have your child examined by a doctor if you suspect that he or she is suffering from an allergy.
The most common types of allergies in children and babies include:
Food or. Food allergy
Your child can't eat certain foods, such as nuts or cow's milk? Then it may suffer from a food allergy.
A food allergy is said to occur when a complete group of foods is not tolerated. This can affect foods containing fructose, for example.
If your child suffers from a food or food allergy, he or she may become noticeably tired, develop red spots, or the eyes and face may swell up. Also skin rashes. A strong itching are possible. Headaches may also occur. Sneezing fits come.
In a contact allergy, the body reacts to a substance or material with an appropriate skin reaction. The animal hair allergy, for example, belongs to the contact allergies.
In the case of a contact allergy, there are mainly red, itchy patches on the affected areas of the skin. A wheal formation is also possible. Neurodermatitis may also develop as a result of the allergy.
In this allergy, a certain substance is not tolerated.
An allergic reaction to the active ingredient of a drug often results in fatigue, headaches, and problems in the gastrointestinal tract. For example, diarrhea or constipation can occur. Rashes with hives, fever or shortness of breath can also occur. If respiratory distress occurs, the emergency physician must be alerted immediately.
Hay fever is one of the best-known inhalation allergies.
This is mainly accompanied by swollen, red eyes and an irritating cough. A blocked nose with sneezing may occur. Come to watery eyes.
These include insect bites.
If your baby suffers from an injection allergy, a red spot will form around the injection site, which can cause swelling. Swollen eyelids or a swollen face and wheals are also possible. Rash with severe itching may occur.
In the worst case, an injection allergy can cause swelling of the lips, mouth and tongue, resulting in respiratory distress. In such a case, immediately alert the emergency doctor.
Babies often suffer from food allergies or allergies to animal dander. Hay fever and other forms of allergy are also possible, but occur less frequently.
Learn more about allergy symptoms in babies and children.
Allergy or intolerance – what is my child suffering from??
Many people confuse allergies and intolerances with each other, although strictly speaking they have nothing to do with each other. Both forms belong to the food intolerances, but they differ as follows:
Allergy is an immune response of the body to a specific allergen, in which sufferers must completely avoid the food that causes the allergy. Even traces of the food can already lead to corresponding symptoms in the case of allergies.
Intolerance, on the other hand, does not involve the immune system and "only" causes gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, flatulence or diarrhea. If your child suffers from an intolerance, the food in question should be avoided, but can usually be consumed in small quantities without causing problems.
In the case of an intolerance, certain food components (e.g.B. the milk sugar lactose) are not fully digested in the intestine. These undigested food components then move on to the large intestine, where they are metabolized by the bacteria there. This results in an increased production of gases, which in turn lead to flatulence.
In the case of lactose intolerance, for example, those affected cannot tolerate lactose because the enzyme lactase, which would break down the milk sugar lactose, is either not present in the body at all or is present in too small an amount. So depending on the amount of enzyme present, more or less lactose in dairy products is tolerated. This is why some sufferers can eat cheese without any problems, while they have to give up a whole glass of milk.
Another difference is that food intolerance can be tested with a breath test. To detect an allergy, either a prick test is carried out or blood is taken to find out whether the immune system has formed antibodies to the substances that are actually harmless.
Allergy vs. Intolerance
What is the difference between allergies and intolerances?? Learn more about the most common food intolerances.
How you can prevent allergies
To prevent allergies before they even develop, it is advisable to pay attention to the following preventive measures:
Choose healthy baby food
While a few years ago experts were of the opinion that allergens in food should be avoided as far as possible in order to prevent allergies, this opinion has now changed. It is said to be important for a strong immune system that even young children already come into contact with allergens in food, such as fish or gluten.
Avoid polluted air
Make sure that your child is not exposed to smoke or exhaust fumes of any kind and ventilate regularly to prevent the formation of mold within the living space.
Do not overdo it with hygiene
Cleanliness is important, but you should not overdo it. Because if the body never learns about possible pathogens, it can't deal with them either, so the risk of allergies increases.
Fresh air every day
Fresh air and vitamin D, which is produced by the sun's rays, are important for your child's immune system. So get outside with your child every day.
Eliminate potential allergy triggers
If there is a risk of allergy, for example, you should not keep pets.
How allergies occur? What promotes allergies? How to reduce the risk of allergies? Learn the best tips for allergy prevention in babies and toddlers.
Breastfeeding – the most effective form of allergy prevention
The simplest and best way to prevent allergies is certainly breastfeeding. The reason for this is simple: breast milk contains all the important intestinal bacteria that help the baby develop the best possible defenses. On top of that, most children tolerate breast milk without any problems.
Allergies and breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is one of the most important ways to prevent allergies in babies. Learn more.
HA-feeding – alternative to breastfeeding
If you are unable to breastfeed or simply do not consider it, this is also no longer a problem in today's world. You can also prevent a potential allergy in your child by feeding the so-called HA food. This consists of easily digestible, split protein, which is very well absorbed by the body. Our HiPP HA food also contains natural lactic acid bacteria. GOS (Galactooligosaachariden) enriched – according to the example of nature.
Only one thing is important: you should feel good all around. Even if breastfeeding is not possible for you for some reason, you are still a good mother.
HA food and allergies
If your darling has a high allergy risk, there is the possibility to resort to HA baby food, provided that you do not breastfeed your baby. Learn more.
Allergies during pregnancy – what can I do??
If you suffer from an allergy during pregnancy, there is unfortunately not much you can do about it, because most medications are taboo. It is therefore important that you avoid the allergen.
Hyposensitization is usually out of the question during pregnancy, since success with this therapy method can take up to three years.
Allergies in pregnant women
Learn more about what you should consider if you suddenly suffer from an allergy during pregnancy.
Frequently asked questions about allergies in babies and children
Can allergies be treated?
Treating allergies is a difficult and sometimes lengthy process. If there is a risk that your child might suffer from an allergy, it is usually more sensible to prevent it.
As allergy treatment for some types of allergies only the so-called hyposensitization comes into question. This is offered, for example, in the case of an animal hair allergy. The immune system is repeatedly confronted with the allergy trigger in small doses until the allergy is significantly reduced or even completely cured. However, this usually takes between two to three years.
How important is nutrition when my child suffers from allergies??
If your child suffers from a food allergy, it is very important to avoid the foods that cause the allergy. But you should also pay attention to the diet as a preventive measure for children at risk of allergies. A healthy, balanced diet that does not completely eliminate potential allergens can strengthen your child's immune system.
Can HA foods reduce the allergy risk?
If your child is at risk of an allergy and you cannot or do not want to breastfeed, you can feed so-called HA food. HA stands for HypoAllergen – this is special milk in which the milk protein, to which many children are allergic, has already been broken down and is therefore easier to digest.
What should I do if my child suffers from allergy symptoms??
If you notice that your child is suffering from severe allergy symptoms and is having difficulty breathing, for example, you must act immediately. Alert the emergency doctor and make sure that the mucous membranes in the mouth can be decongested. The easiest way to do this is with an emergency kit or with appropriate allergy medications. If you don't have either on hand, cooling the mouth and throat can help. If necessary, let your child suck ice cream if he or she is old enough to do so. Sucking an ice cube is also possible from an age at which there is no longer a risk of the child swallowing the ice cube. In this way, you can bridge the time when the emergency doctor is on the way to you.
If swelling occurs in other parts of the body as a result of an allergy, you should also cool them and alert the emergency doctor if the symptoms are severe.
Anja Schroder is a mother herself and has been writing as a freelance copywriter for several large family blogs for many years. Her main focus is on family ies, which she vividly portrays through storytelling in her writing.
Allergy triggers: Learn more about common allergy triggers in children.
Allergy vs. Intolerance: What is the difference between allergies and intolerances??