External allergies are substances that cause an allergic reaction on the skin or in the respiratory tract. These substances are not generally harmful in and of themselves, but in sensitive individuals, things like dust or pet dander can send them into an allergic state. Babies, with their sensitive skin and developing immune systems, can also experience allergies.
Substances that are touched or inhaled cause reactions in areas of the body such as the skin, throat, lungs, eyes, ears, and/or nose. So basically, external allergies involve the skin and respiratory tract.
What are babies allergic to, and what are the symptoms? Babies can be allergic to the very things adults are…they also may be allergic to substances that the adults around them are not, making the allergies easy to overlook.
Let’s take a look at some of the allergies that can affect a baby.
1. Pollen allergies can affect babies with cold-like symptoms. Experts note that colds in babies generally produce cloudy or yellow mucous discharge that clears up in a week or so. But allergies go on longer and the nasal discharge tends to be clear and thin. Of course, a big indicator is the time of year – spring and fall and big allergy seasons.
2. Pet allergies are often not considered by parents if they themselves are not allergic to their “fur babies.” But the truth is, babies of all ages can be allergic to pets (including birds). If your baby seems to “keep a cold” and you have pets, it may be the dog, cat, bird, guinea pig, rabbit, etc. who is the culprit. Pet allergies can also cause red, teary eyes, hives, and wheezing.
3. Laundry Soap
Washing powder and laundry soap can cause allergic reactions on baby’s skin, such as rashes, redness, and swelling. Even if the detergent is “what you’ve always used,” it’s worth considering as a possible cause of skin allergies.
Second-hand smoke has been shown time and time again to harm babies’ respiratory systems. In fact, smoke from cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc. may be beyond just an “allergy” and do real damage. Still, if you or someone in your household smokes and your baby is showing signs of respiratory discomfort or distress, it just may be the smoke.
Dust – or more correctly, dust mites – can cause a host of allergic symptoms, such as:
Dust can be in carpets, pillows, bedding, stuffed animals…it’s hard to eradicate, but there are measures you can take to lessen baby’s contact with this common allergen.