Common Baby Allergies and Rashes
One of the most challenging parts of parenting is knowing what to do when your baby has a persistent runny nose, itchy eyes, wheezing, or a variety of spots and rashes. They can be perfectly normal, or symptomatic of a deeper concern. While prevalent symptoms will require a more thorough diagnosis from your pediatrician, these are some of the more common allergies and rashes that present in babies.
Infant (or baby) acne is common among newborns and presents as little red bumps on your baby’s cheeks, nose, and forehead. It usually develops within a couple of weeks of birth and disappears at two or three months. Nobody’s really too sure of the cause, but it doesn’t give your baby any discomfort so you can just ignore it and wait for the pimples to disappear on their own. Don’t treat it with anything other than warm water and an organic baby soap.
It’s not pretty, but cradle cap is another common yet harmless condition that leaves flaky, scaly or crusty patches on your baby’s head. It may also present on eyebrows, lids or in other creases of the skin. You can gently rub an organic natural oil on your baby’s head to loosen the flakes, although they aren’t really causing any bother. You only need to see a doctor if the affected areas begin to bleed or spread extensively beyond the scalp. Cradle cap should be gone by six months.
About 20% of babies will develop eczema, and it usually appears initially on their cheeks and scalp. You can tell the difference between eczema and cradle cap because eczema is insanely itchy. It will also likely spread to their arms, legs, and chest. You can’t “cure” eczema, but you can take precautions to reduce flare-ups. Don’t use any bath products or detergents that contain chemicals, fragrances or toxins. Dress your child in natural fabrics like bamboo, cotton or silk, and try not to let your baby get overheated.
Note that eczema is also linked to stress, and mindful parenting techniques can soothe your baby’s anxieties and reduce the incidence of flare-ups. You can learn more about mindful parenting here:insert link to other articles
These allergies often called hay fever, are caused by airborne pollens and mold spores. Hay fever causes the body to react to pollen by releasing a chemical called histamine to fight what it perceives as a dangerous substance. Histamine, in turn, causes congestion, runny nose, itchy throat and ears, and watery eyes. If left untreated, seasonal allergies can lead to chronic ear infections and asthma, so you should consult your doctor if your baby is showing symptoms of hay fever.
The number of children with food allergies has been steadily climbing for years, and it is now thought that up to 8% of children are allergic to some type of food. Early symptoms can include a tingling or itchy mouth, a burning sensation on the tongue, itchy ears, hives, eczema or breathing problems. 90% of food allergies are caused by eggs, milk, peanuts, wheat, soy, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish.
If your baby consistently shows symptoms of discomfort after eating a certain food, your doctor may recommend allergy testing. An allergy causes an immune reaction, while a food intolerance means that your baby is unable to digest certain foods. Either way, you’ll need advice on how to manage the problem in the future. It goes without saying that if your child experiences a severe reaction that causes the airways to constrict, you need to call for immediate paramedic help.
Rashes, sniffles and stomach upsets are all particularly disconcerting when your baby is too young to let you know exactly how they’re feeling. Luckily, most are a normal part of their little bodies adjusting to life on the outside and will soon pass. If you have any doubts at all, ask your doctor. You can be sure that your concern has been expressed by hundreds of parents before you, and a little reassurance can be the best medicine for both you and your baby.
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