Allergies in Children

April 19th, 2024 | 10:10 am


No parent likes to see their children suffer and become low in spirits when they should be fluttering like butterflies. Any child can develop an allergy, but it is more common in those with a family history of allergies. If it is not possible for parents to monitor or control what their child eats every time, they should instead focus on monitoring their child for symptoms and avoid the causes. 

In this article, we have put together a complete guide on the symptoms of allergy in children, their causes, and treatment approaches. 

What is Allergy? What are the Kinds of Allergies caused by Allergens?

Allergy can be simply defined as the reaction of the immune system against the substances in the environment that are usually harmless to the majority of people. These substances are referred to as allergens. There are different types of allergies (due to allergens) that can occur in children. Here are the different categories of allergies in children.

Airborne Allergies

The airborne allergies are caused by allergens present in the air. These allergens include dust mites, pollens, moulds, pets, and cockroaches.

Food Allergies 

There are certain types of foods that may induce an allergic reaction. These allergens may include foods like:

  • Cow’s milk
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Peanuts and tree nuts
  • Soy 
  • Wheat
  • Sesame

Other Common Allergens

There are many other allergens that can cause allergies in children. Some of the other common allergens may include the following.

  • Medicines, such as antibiotics and some OTC (over-the-counter) medicines
  • Insect sting allergy
  • Chemicals present in common-use items, like laundry detergent, dyes, household cleaners, and pesticides 

What are the Signs & Symptoms of Allergies in Children?

An allergic reaction might happen anywhere in the child’s body, including the eyes, skin, nose, sinuses, lining of the stomach, throat and lungs. Allergic reactions in children may be exhibited in the form of the following symptoms:

  • Stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing, and itching in nose, ears or roof of mouth
  • Itchy rash
  • Red, itchy, watery eyes or dry skin
  • Hives or itchy weltsAsthma symptoms, such as shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing
  • A severe, life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
  • Upset stomach 

What Causes Allergies in Children?

Allergens can be breathed in via the air and enter the nose, sinuses, throat, or lungs, causing allergies in children. In addition to this, allergens can even enter through the skin after direct physical contact or can be ingested in case of food allergies. Some of the common allergic triggers in children are pollen, mould, dust mite, animal protein, feathers, insect stings, cockroaches, foods, medicines, etc.

What are the Common Allergic Conditions in Children?

Different kinds of allergens can cause different allergic reactions and conditions in children. The most common types of allergic conditions occurring in children due to different allergens have been discussed below.

  • Allergic Rhinitis (Hay fever)

Allergic rhinitis is one of the most common childhood ailments caused by allergens. Hay fever causes symptoms like a runny and itchy nose, sneezing, postnasal drip, and nasal congestion. There may also be itching, watery, red eyes, and chronic ear problems. 

  • Nasal Congestion

Nasal congestion or stuffy nose is the most common type of allergic reaction in children. Sometimes, a child’s nose becomes congested to the point where they breathe through the mouth. This can affect their sleep and cause problems with teeth and bone development. 

  • Ear Infections

Allergic reactions can cause inflammation in the ear and fluid accumulation, which can lead to ear infections and decreased hearing. Ear infections at an early age can lead to learning disabilities and poor speech abilities. Allergic reactions may also cause earaches as well as itching, popping, or fullness in the ear. 

How are Allergies Diagnosed?

If a child develops cold-like symptoms which lasts longer than a week, or if they develop a cold at the same time every year, they may be having an allergic reaction to an allergen. It is important to seek medical attention from an allergist to test for possible allergies. 

To find possible allergens, doctors can perform skin tests on the most common environmental and food allergens. They might even recommend a blood test if a child is taking some medication or suffers from a severe allergic reaction due to a particular allergen. 

How are Allergies Treated?

If a person is allergic, their symptoms can be managed effectively with appropriate allergic medicines. The best way to cope with an allergic reaction is to avoid what’s causing it in the first place. It is also important for parents to educate their children on the potential dangers of coming into contact with an allergen and ways to avoid them. 

If an allergy is caused by an environmental allergen or due to unavoidable allergens, doctors may prescribe anti-allergic medicines, including antihistamines, eye drops, and nasal sprays. Antihistamines are used to relieve or prevent the symptoms of allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and other allergies. Decongestants may also be used to clear a blocked nose after an allergic reaction.

In some cases, allergy shots (immunotherapy) may be recommended to help a person desensitise to an allergen. However, this may work only with allergens like dust, mould, pollens, animals, and insect stings. Food allergies cannot be managed with this form of treatment.

Avoiding Allergen Exposure

There are many ways in which a parent can help their child avoid exposure to their specific allergens. Here are some ways in which you can do it:

  • Wash bedding, curtains and clothing often in hot water to eliminate dust mites
  • Dust-proof the child’s room
  • Remain indoors when it is windy outside or the pollen count is high
  • Keep bedding in allergen-proof mattress and pillow encasings
  • Use air conditioning instead of open-window air
  • Use a dehumidifier and remember to clean it often
  • Avoid keeping washed and wet clothes in damp places for too long
  • If the child plays sports, talk to their coach or sports teachers and inform them of their allergies 


Allergies arise due to abnormal reactions to specific things in the outside world. Children are delicate, and their immune systems haven’t fully developed. They are susceptible to allergies at a young age. Allergies in children can be easily managed after a diagnosis has been found to pinpoint an allergen. If you suspect an allergic reaction based on their cold-like symptoms, you should not delay the diagnosis and treatment of your child to ensure that they get the best possible care at Giggles.