Baby Allergies: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and More

Can babies have allergies?

Like older children and adults, babies can have allergies to the foods they eat, the things they touch, and the unseen particles they inhale in the home or outdoors. And when your baby has symptoms of any kind, it can be difficult to figure out what’s wrong because a little one can’t describe those symptoms.

There are many specific allergies a baby can have, though they can generally be divided into one of three categories:

  • food and medicine
  • environmental
  • seasonal

Allergic reactions to food or medications usually happen soon after an item has been consumed. They can be either very mild or life-threatening.

Environmental allergies can be things that touch your baby’s skin, such as detergent in clothes, or things that are inhaled, such as dust. Environmental allergies can affect your baby year-round.

Seasonal allergies, however, are usually a problem during certain parts of the year or in specific locations. They tend to originate outdoors from trees and other plants that grow in the area. The term “hay fever” is sometimes used to describe these allergies.

Signs of allergies

An allergic reaction occurs when your body’s immune system reacts abnormally to things that are normally harmless. Signs of an allergic reaction can vary greatly depending on the individual and the type of allergy.

Babies are much less likely than older children and adults to have many types of allergies, because you must be exposed to some things for a time before becoming allergic to them. Seasonal allergies, for example, are uncommon in babies as they haven’t lived through a season or two of high pollen counts. Most types of inhaled allergies are uncommon before 1–2 years old.