By Heather Legg
One of my friend’s just celebrated her youngest child’s first birthday. He is doing all of the things twelve month old babies do, but when it comes to trying new foods, she has to be especially careful with him. He already has diagnosed allergies of wheat, tree nuts, peanuts and fish. Plus, she is still breast feeding, so that those avoidance foods go for her as well.
I asked how she knew to get him tested; her other children have skin allergies, but no food issues. Her first indicator was his fussiness and colic. He also was already developing some skin issues, like hives and eczema. So she had an allergy test done, and found out what she needs to avoid. I hope he grows out of these allergies, because that certainly is a handful of things to deal with.
As far as having an infant allergy tested, a think a mother’s intuition is best, but here are some other signs to go by. Besides the skin issues, an infant or young child may show attempts at scratching because of the irritated skin. Also remember, babies have all kinds of skin conditions and not all of them mean allergies.
Of course, swelling of any facial feature could mean allergy, and even a breastfed only baby can react to anything in his mother’s milk. If any swelling happens to a baby, call the doctor or seek emergency attention immediately, as you never know how far it will go.
Red eyes or dark circles are allergy indicators, as is a constantly runny or stuffy nose. Trouble sleeping can be a sign, too, as allergies make it uncomfortable to sleep, whether it’s due to the congestion, itchiness or general discomfort. That constant cough a lot of kids have can be due to an allergy as well.
Stomach and digestive issues can indicate a food intolerance or allergy. If a baby is suffering from chronic gas or a bloated belly, it could be from an intolerance. Many babies spit up, but that is also a sign of allergy.
It is hard to distinguish normal baby activity, which certainly includes crying, gas and spit up, with the signs of allergy. However, if you really notice a chronic condition, or on the other hand, one that only happens when certain foods are given, it could be a sign of food allergy. Testing is always an option, and your doctor should be amenable to testing if the signs are there. If nothing else, it weeds allergies out, if your infant tests positive for certain foods, then you know to avoid.