Most moms associate allergies with rashes or swelling. But little symptoms like a runny nose, or even chronic earaches, could be a sign that your baby either have an allergy or are at higher risk for developing one when they grow older.
Doctors also recommend that parents take a proactive role. Don’t wait for allergy symptoms to appear; a little vigilance and precaution can help reduce your child’s allergy risk.
Talk to your doctor
You may not bring your child to the doctor for every cold, but you should at least tell him about any ‘episodes’ since the last visit. Also report eczema, and of course, always seek treatment if your child seems to be manifesting symptoms of an ear infection.
Keep track of how many times your child seems to be getting sick. These conditions may be hidden symptoms that your child is vulnerable to certain allergy triggers.
Check your family history
Ask relatives if they have any allergies. While we are often aware of bigger conditions (like heart ailments or diabetes) we may not know that Uncle Steve can’t eat nuts or chicken, or Grandmother Ann gets skin outbreaks whenever she eats shellfish.
Be careful about introducing new food
Doctors say that it’s best to wait until your child is one year old before giving her cow’s milk. Wait until she is two years old before introducing eggs, and three years old before giving her peanut butter. Always introduce food one at a time, and observe for any allergic reactions in the days that follow.
If you suspect your child has an allergy, remove it from the diet for a few days to see if the symptoms subside, and then give a small dose to check if it wasn’t a coincidence.
Get an allergy test
If you have strong reason to suspect that your child is allergic to something, you can ask for an allergy test. However many kids outgrow their allergies, so have it retested in a couple of years. It’s also possible for your child to develop an allergy to a food or substance, so don’t think that ‘He’s always been eating this!’ automatically guarantees that it’s beyond suspicion.
If your child has an allergy, read our article on understanding allergies