My baby is 5 months old and I believe that she has allergies. What can I give her? She has watery eyes, runny nose, and sneezing.

Allergies occur when a person's (in this case your baby's) immune system comes in contact with an external object or allergen. The immune system treats the allergen as an attacker and produces a host of antibodies to get rid of it. The presence of these antibodies releases a chemical known as histamine, which in turn results in the classic symptoms of an allergic reaction. These symptoms include:

  • A runny nose
  • Itchy eyes and nose
  • Watery eyes
  • A hive like rash
  • Swollen lips and eyes
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Severe allergic reactions may also cause symptoms such as wheezing, swelling of the tongue and breathing difficulties. This is known as anaphylactic shock, and can be fatal. Get your child to an emergency room at the earliest sign of any such symptoms.

There are different types of allergies that may be affecting your baby. The most common allergies are food allergies such as milk allergies, nut allergies and egg allergies. Most children tend to grow out of food allergies but it can be a very trying time for both parent and child.

If your doctor suspects an allergy, he will recommend a round of allergy tests that rule out different allergens one by one. You may have to take your baby to a specialist allergy clinic to get these done. The tests involve either a simple prick test to the skin or a blood test. Once the cause of the allergy is determined, it is easier to treat the symptoms. Needless to say, the best course of action is to avoid the allergen that causes all the reactions. This can be quite difficult at times and requires the patience and co-operation of both parent and child. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication such as corticosteroids and antihistamines to control the symptoms. Never treat your child with medications without consulting your doctor first.

Depending on the cause of the allergy, you can also try the following:

  • In cases of hay fever, keep your child indoors when pollen counts are high. Bathe him well after his outdoor playtime as well.
  • If dust aggravates the symptoms, clean out his bedroom and other hot spots for dust mites. Wash his bed linen, soft toys, carpets and curtains in hot water regularly to keep the house free of mites.
  • Pets can also cause allergic symptoms. If you own a pet, try and keep him outside the house as much as possible. Do not allow pets into your child's bedroom and vacuum regularly to remove pet fur and dead skin around the house.

answered by M W

Do not panic. There should be brief information for tracing the type of allergy. It may be dust allergy, seasonal allergy, food allergy and so on. Your baby is too small. Keep your baby mostly on breast feed for cure. Breast feeding provides very strong immune system in infants. Avoid bottle feeding. Remember prevention is better then cure. Totally avoid dairy products and processed food. Keep the baby away from dust, pets or any other thing which you feel cause allergy to child. Keep your house clean. Avoid stuffed toys. If all these tips still don't help, please consult a pediatrician.

answered by R S

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