What Do You Know About Children’s Allergies?

What Do You Know About Children’s Allergies?

It causes fever

It causes itchy mouth

It’s often caused by hay

Hay fever can give you symptoms like runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, and an itchy mouth and throat. But it won’t cause a fever. And while lots of plants can trigger it, like pollen from trees and weeds, hay isn’t usually one of them.

Where does the name come from? People used to think that the symptoms were brought on by the smell of new-cut hay in the summer. They were wrong, but the name stuck.




Anything that can trigger allergies — from pollen to peanuts — is an allergen. They’re not usually harmful to most people. But if your kid has an allergy, his body overreacts and attacks these substances as if they were dangerous germs. All the symptoms of allergies, like itchy hives, sneezing, and an upset stomach, are the body’s attempts to “protect” itself from the allergen.

Raccoon eyes

Shin splints


“Allergic shiners” is another name for these dark, bluish rings under the eyes. They’re harmless and don’t hurt, but they can take parents by surprise. What causes them? When your kid is stuffed up with allergies, fluids build up around the eyes, making them puffy and discolored. They don’t need any special treatment, and they’ll fade along with other symptoms when you get your child’s allergies under control.

By the time they’re teens

As adults

Kids don’t outgrow them

Allergies to those foods tend to fade by the time children are 16. But some food allergies don’t usually go away, like those to nuts and shellfish. For example, only 1 in 10 children who are allergic to tree nuts, like almonds, outgrow it.



Skin flakes

Dander, another way to say skin flakes, can be the trigger of your kid’s allergy to the family dog or cat. So can the animal’s pee or saliva. That said, try to keep your child away from pet hair, since pet allergens can stick to it — and so can other triggers, like pollen and mold from outside.




Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema, and babies and young kids often get it. When they have contact with a trigger — like pollen, mold, or a specific food — these kids break out in patches of red, dry, itchy skin. Moisturizers and creams with medication, like steroids, can help ease the swelling and itch.

In his teens

Only after age 3

Around 4 to 6 months old

Doctors used to say that kids shouldn’t eat foods with nuts until after age 1 at the earliest, but that delay actually seemed to increase  the chances of nut allergies. Now experts suggest that babies try foods with nuts early, after they’ve started on other solid foods. Just remember that babies can’t eat whole nuts since they’re a choking risk.

A parent with allergies

Cats or dogs in the home


If your kids get allergies, don’t assume it’s the fault of the family pet. Research shows that babies who live in homes with a cat or dog seem to have lower  odds of pet allergies than babies who don’t.

But allergic problems do run in families. So if you have them, your kids are more likely to have them, too. The specific trigger, though, like pollen or dust mites, will probably be different.  

Hacking cough

Itchy eyes

Aches and pains

Allergies and colds share a lot of symptoms, like stuffy nose, sneezing, and cough. But there are ways to tell them apart. Itchiness is typical of allergies rather than colds. Allergies are likely to cause thin, clear mucus, while colds cause thick, yellowish mucus. And if symptoms last more than 2 weeks, it’s more likely to be allergies than a cold.


Histamine boosters


During an allergic reaction, the body releases a chemical called histamine, which causes itching, swelling, and other symptoms. Antihistamines help block the effects. Other medicines — both over-the-counter and prescription — can help kids with allergies too, like cromolyn and steroid nose sprays. But before your child starts using any medication, always check with his doctor.

Podiatric ichthyologist

Pediatric immunologist

Either one

Pediatric allergists and immunologists are doctors who are experts at treating kids with allergies. They can help you figure out the cause of your child’s allergies and how to treat them — so she’ll breathe easier and feel better. Allergists can also help reduce her reaction to allergens with a treatment called immunology, or allergy shots.

Your Score:

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Reviewed by Hansa


Bhargava, MD on January 22, 2018

Medically Reviewed on January 22, 2018

Reviewed by Hansa


Bhargava, MD on
January 22, 2018




Mayo Clinic: “Hay Fever,” “Likelihood of Child Outgrowing Food Allergy Depends of Type, Severity of Allergy,” “Cold or Allergy: Which Is It?” “Learning About Allergies,” “Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance: What’s the Difference?”

American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology: “Rhinitis (Hay Fever),” “Allergen,” “Skin Allergy,” “Preventing Allergies: What You Should Know About Your Baby’s Nutrition,” “Prevention of Allergies and Asthma in Children,” “Celiac Disease, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, and Food Allergy: How Are They Different?”

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: “Children & Allergies,” “Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis).”

Bergmann, K. History of Allergy, Karger, 2014.

KidsHealth: “Food Allergies,” “All About Allergies.”

UpToDate: “Patient Education: Allergic Rhinitis (Seasonal Allergies) (Beyond the Basics).”

Archives of Disease in Childhood: “Optimal Management of Allergic Rhinitis.”

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: “Pet Allergy: Are You Allergic to Dogs or Cats?”

Healthy Children: “Peanut Allergies: What You Should Know About the Latest Research & Guidelines,” “Allergy Medicine for Children,” “What is a Pediatric Allergist/Immunologist?”

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What Do You Know About Children’s Allergies?

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