Many parents find themselves wondering whether their infant or toddler’s symptoms are being caused by the common cold or whether their child could be suffering from allergies. Because cold and allergy symptoms are so much alike, it is perfectly normal to be confused. That is why we’ve prepared a list of things that will help you determine if your child needs to go to the allergy doctor or just be treated for a cold.
How long have your child’s symptoms lasted?
Most colds last from 7 to 10 days and afterwards all of the symptoms are gone. However, allergy symptoms tend to persist until your child stops being exposed to the allergen(s) causing their reaction.
Has your child had a fever?
The common cold usually causes body aches, and sometimes can cause a low-grade fever. If your child has a fever, then it is fairly safe to assume they have a cold or another upper-respiratory illness.
What color is your child’s mucus?
The color of the mucus can be very telling on what is going on with your child’s health. If the mucus is thick, yellowy, or green, then it is likely that you child has a cold. However, if the mucus is watery and/or clear, you might be dealing with allergies.
How old is your child?
Allergies are not a condition we are born with, but something we develop throughout our life as we come in contact with different allergens. It takes around two or three seasons to develop allergies, and children under 3 usually haven’t developed any allergies yet.
Do allergies run in your child’s family?
If your child has a family history of allergies, it could be more likely that they have or will develop them as well.
Does your child constantly scratch their nose?
An itchy nose can be one of your child’s allergy symptoms and it leads them to push up, wiggle, or scratch their nose to relieve the itch. This is something they often do even if their nose is not runny.
Does your child have itchy, red, and watery eyes?
Babies with allergies have a tendency to rub their eyes frequently because they feel itchy. Their eyes can also appear red and watery.
Allergies can cause a constant stuffy nose, which in turn leads to persistent mouth breathing.
Does your child have a constant cough or wheezing?
Allergic babies often suffer from spasms and swelling in their airways, which can lead to a dry cough and wheezing.
Wheezing can be a dangerous sign in a small child because it can indicate that the child is having trouble breathing. If your child is wheezing, listen to check if their breathing gets more troubled, observe to see if they are sucking in their chest or stomach and whether their nostrils are flaring. All of these are signs of troubled breathing. If you think your child is showing these symptoms, call their pediatrician or an emergency medical service to aid them.
Does your child have a rash or dark circles under their eyes?
Allergies can cause the skin under your child’s eyes to look dark with a purple or blue tint. In addition, the most common allergic rashes are atopic dermatitis and eczema, which start showing up after two or three months of age. These rashes represent the first warning sign of allergic tendencies in your child.
This simple guide can help you get closer to an answer on whether your baby suffers from allergies, but it should not be taken as a definitive diagnosis. A trained allergy doctor will be qualified to give a proper diagnosis for your child’s symptoms and suggest a course of allergy treatment, if needed.
Dr. Pasha is an experienced allergy doctor in the Houston area and can help you and your family control and even eliminate your allergy symptoms by creating an allergy treatment tailored to meet your needs. Discuss your children’s allergies with Dr. Pasha today!