Allergies in babies occur when the immune system reacts to a substance that is usually harmless. The substance that causes an allergic reaction is called an “allergen”. The immune system perceives the allergen as a threat to the body and begins to produce antibodies (IgE antibodies) to the allergen. These antibodies stimulate the mast cells in the body and the mast cells start to fight the allergen. Mast cells then bind to antibodies and can identify the allergen in the next process. This process is called sensitization and the process that prepares your baby’s body for an allergic reaction is developed. There are many types of allergies, and as can be the case with older children, babies can be allergic to the food they eat, the things they touch, and the invisible particles they breathe at home or outside. There are many specific types of allergies a baby can have, but they can be broadly divided into three categories; food and medicine, environment, seasonal.
Food and Drug Allergies in Babies
Symptoms of a food or drug allergy may appear within minutes or hours later. Some symptoms of drug allergy, such as a rash, may not appear for a few days. Drug and food allergy symptoms in babies commonly include: hives or rash, itching, wheezing, or shortness of breath. Food allergies can also cause nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. The severity and symptoms of allergic reactions may vary depending on the person and situation. While mild allergic reactions may be experienced, some allergic reactions can lead to very serious consequences. Severe food allergy for babies is one of the most common causes of anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis in babies is very rare and almost most of them are caused by cow’s milk protein allergy. The main foods that cause allergic reactions in babies are; milk, egg, peanut, hazelnut tree, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish. If you see one or more of the food allergy symptoms in babies, you should contact an allergist immediately.
Environmental Allergies in Babies
An allergic reaction may also occur in babies to environmental stimuli. For example; You may develop allergies to dust, pet hair, mold, pollen, insect bites and other things in the environment. These allergies can cause symptoms that affect the head and chest. Environmental allergy symptoms include; Conditions such as sneezing, itchy and red eyes, cough, wheezing, chest tightness, runny nose are included. If your baby’s skin is exposed to an allergen or something sensitive to it, their skin may develop hives, rashes, and itchy bumps. Shampoos, soaps, detergents, and similar products are common causes of skin reactions and can trigger a reaction called contact dermatitis. The main triggers of environmental allergies are; There are things such as pet hair, dust mites on mattresses, beds, sheets, household cleaning products, soap, shampoo, detergent.
Seasonal Allergies in Babies
Seasonal allergies are caused by plant-based allergens. Especially when the pollen count is high, the effects of seasonal allergies are more visible. Seasonal allergies are generally intense at certain times. However, in some cases, seasonal allergies can persist throughout the year. This occurs because allergens do not disappear. The symptoms of seasonal allergy are similar to those of environmental allergy and include: sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, cough, runny nose. If your baby shows these symptoms, especially during certain months of the year, they may have seasonal allergies and you may need to seek expert advice.
Diagnosing Allergies in Babies
The only way to tell if your baby has an allergy is by an allergist or a series of tests. The results of allergy tests in babies can often be misleading. For this reason, it will be more beneficial for you and your baby to consult with a doctor who specializes in allergies for diagnosis and treatment. Some allergists specialize in babies and children and can follow tests and methods to suit your baby’s age. There are several different ways to detect allergies. One of these is a skin test. In the skin test, a specific allergen particle is placed with a needle just under the skin. This method is also known as skin prick test. The treated area is observed for 15 minutes. If there is no skin reaction, that allergen is eliminated and another allergen can be tried. Another test used to diagnose allergies in babies is a blood test. This test is also known as the IgE test. Your doctor may order this test to see if your baby is making IgE antibodies. In some cases, an elimination diet can also be applied. If you think your baby may be allergic to a particular food, your allergist may recommend removing that food from the diet for a few weeks to determine if that food is allergenic. If you are breastfeeding, you should also exclude that food from your diet. When suspicious food is not consumed, you should pay attention to whether your baby has an allergic reaction. If your baby has no symptoms when he does not eat the suspect food and starts when he eats it, he may be allergic to that food. It is the healthiest way to do the elimination diet under expert control. The methods that the allergist will use in diagnosis may differ depending on the condition of your baby and the current conditions.
Main Treatment of Allergy in Babies
The main treatment for allergies in babies is to eliminate the allergen. After the detailed examinations of allergists, the allergen substance is determined and it will be much easier for you to stay away from that substance and to control and manage your baby’s allergy. For example, if your baby is allergic to milk, he/she should not consume milk and dairy products or products containing milk. If you are breastfeeding, you should not consume any product that may cause an allergic reaction in your baby. In nursing mothers, allergen substances can reach the baby through milk. For this reason, it is important for breastfeeding mothers to pay attention to their diets. Medicines containing antihistamines are among the commonly used medications to treat allergies. Antihistamines help to minimize allergic reactions. However, these drugs are not recommended for children under 2 years old. Except for the doctor’s recommendation, you should not give your baby any medication.