Anyone can develop allergies, and children are no exception, even infants and toddlers.
Infants and toddlers may develop food allergies or eczema early in life, but the development of allergic rhinitis usually requires multiple seasons of pollen exposure. Allergies are also more common for those whose family has a history of allergies. If one parent has allergies, then their child has about a 50% chance of having allergies.
Common Allergies in Toddlers
There are four main types of allergies that toddlers commonly suffer from:
- Environmental – toddlers may experience allergy symptoms when coming into contact with pollen, dust mites, pet dander, or other airborne allergens.
- Foods – Toddlers can have allergic reactions to milk products, nuts, eggs, soy, wheat, shellfish, and other foods.
- Drugs – Toddlers can also be allergic to certain medications, such as penicillin.
- Insect bites – Bees, wasps, ants, and hornets can all trigger an allergic reaction after a bite or sting. Adventurous toddlers who stumble upon these creatures while outdoors should be monitored for a reaction.
Allergy Symptoms in Toddlers
Allergy symptoms in toddlers can show from their head to their toes and depend on the source of the reaction. Allergy symptoms in a toddler are similar to those in adults, including:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Postnasal drip
- Open-mouth breathing
- Red, itchy skin
- Swelling of the face, legs, or arms
- Dark circles under the eyes (known as allergic “shiners”)
- Stomach pain
Contrary to common belief, allergies do not cause a fever. A sinus infection, the flu, COVID-19, or another virus might cause a fever.
In severe allergy cases, especially to a food or insect sting, a toddler might experience allergic shock or anaphylaxis.
Keep track of any symptoms your child has, including when and how long they occur, then see a board-certified pediatric allergist so that he or she can identify and help treat your toddler’s allergy triggers.
Allergy Treatments for Toddlers
The best treatment for allergies in toddlers is to avoid them. Pollen and environmental allergens may seem tough to avoid, but there are things you can do to limit your child’s contact with them, including:
Keep your carpets and rugs clean by vacuuming them frequently. In addition, vacuum or clean your sofa periodically to ensure that any pollen, spores, dust mites, or animal dander are removed. Cleaning thoroughly removes dust mites and any pollen that was brought inside. Dust will take approximately two hours to settle after vacuuming.
Hypoallergenic mattress and pillow covers for your toddler’s bedding will prevent dust mites, pet dander, and other allergens from invading their sleeping spaces. Best practices for cleaning linens for a toddler with allergies include:
- Weekly full sheet washes and changes, including pillowcases
- Washing blankets, comforters, quilts, etc. every two weeks
- Monthly wash and change of mattress covers/protectors
Don’t Forget the Car!
Your car’s upholstery may also accumulate pollen and allergies. In the spring and summer, use your air conditioner in your house and automobile to minimize pollen exposure.
Gentle Bathing Products
Look for fragrance-free and gentle soaps for your toddler’s baths. A bath before sleep helps to remove any allergens from the day and keeps them off of your child’s bedding and pillows. Perfumes and dyes can be irritants to children’s skin, so they’re not recommended.
When washing garments, use a mild, fragrance, and dye-free detergent. Free-and-clear laundry detergents are good options. You can also add an extra rinse to the wash cycle to really get all the detergent out of the clothes. Always dry clothes in a dryer instead of on a line, since wind may distribute pollen and other allergens onto clothing that is outdoors.
Children who suffer from allergies at a young age are more likely to develop asthma. Treating children for their allergies might prevent the development of airway inflammation and the onset of asthma.
Allergy Treatments for Toddlers in Tampa Bay
If your toddler is showing signs and symptoms of allergies, bring them into Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Associates of Tampa Bay immediately for a full allergy workup and examination. We can help identify your child’s allergy triggers, develop a treatment plan to control symptoms, and give you tips for best life practices to keep their allergies at bay all year. Call us at (813) 971-9743 to schedule an appointment today!