If you’re wondering if your child has allergies, there’s a few simple ways to tell. Childhood is full of bumps, bruises, rashes, and break-outs, but just because your child has suffered those doesn’t necessarily mean your child has any allergies.
Knowing what to look for and how to analyze the signs and symptoms will help you determine if they are.
Know the Signs and Symptoms
The first step is knowing the signs and symptoms of allergies in early childhood. Most allergies cause visible symptoms like rashes, bumps, red eyes, or dry throat. More serious symptoms include intense swelling of the hands, feet, or face.
Symptoms to specific allergens are generally the same. For instance, if your child is allergic to peanuts they’ll always have a symptom like swelling of the throat or face. A shellfish allergy will always bring about a symptom of bumps on the tongue.
However, not all symptoms are the same for each child. One child may experience a swollen tongue after eating crab legs and another may get hives. It’s important not to link a symptom to an allergy. Just because you know someone who gets hives after eating shellfish doesn’t mean your child will get them too.
Learn Common Allergens
Learn the most common allergens, familiarize yourself with their symptoms, and other important factors in mind such as when they’re most prominent (if applicable). A few common allergens include flower and tree pollen, which is prevalent in the spring. If your child has symptoms only when the trees and flowers bloom, there’s a good chance they have an allergy to pollen. Other common spring allergies include bee stings and insect bites. You’ll see reactions like break-outs, swelling of the tongue or face, and rashes. This one is fairly easy to spot because it happens right after a bite takes place. If a bite does take place, monitor your child.
Foods allergies are also fairly easy to notice because symptoms appear after your child eats the food. Common food allergens include milk, chocolate, peanuts, and other nuts. Less common food allergies include sesame oil or seeds, fruit, gelatin, soy, chicken, salmon, shellfish, and even tropical fruits.
Find Where the Allergens Live
You have to learn where common allergens live to decide if your child has allergies. For instance, if you didn’t realize gelatin is found in marshmallows and jelly, you may not realize your child has a gelatin allergy. Instead, you may think they’re allergic to fruit corn syrup.
Another hard-to-diagnose allergy? Dust mites. These microscopic bugs crawl all over your AC ducts and when the heat or AC comes on the air blows them out into your home. If your child is constantly sneezing indoors check to see if their sneezing increases when the AC or heat is on. If so, it’s possible they have a dust mite allergy.
Turn off the AC or take your child outside when dust mite allergies intensify. Your child’s allergy symptoms accelerate when the allergen is present.
Track the Symptoms
Symptoms are the number one way to tell if your child has allergies, but you don’t want to jump to conclusions with symptoms. They fool even the most cautious mom. Always track allergy symptoms carefully so you make a proper diagnosis.
First look for symptoms like swelling, redness of the eyes or skin, rashes, pimples on the skin, and similar problems. Then keep track symptom occurrences. Only suspect allergies when symptoms occur every time the child comes in contact with the allergen.
If the child swells up when they eat shellfish, it’s obvious they have a shellfish allergy. But when a child gets a rash when eating foods with a variety of ingredients, it’s not so obvious.
For instance, if your child gets a rash when eating trail mix and cereal, each containing raisins, most moms would assume their child is allergic to raisins. But the cereal and the trail mix both contain bran flakes, brown sugar, and soybean oil as well.
You have to cross-reference all ingredients to find the real allergen. Write down every single ingredient in the foods they react to and check them off when a symptom appears. This is the only way to find your child’s real allergy.
Protect your child, but don’t rush to conclusions right away. Once you have enough evidence, consult with a doctor for a final diagnosis on the allergy. That’s the only way to figure out your child’s allergies.