Can Babies Have Seasonal Allergies?
For some of us, spring blossoms may look gorgeous, but they signal the beginning of itchy eyes and sneezing. New parents who suffer during the spring months may wonder, can babies have seasonal allergies, too?   We’ll look at what an allergy is, what the common symptoms are, and what to do if you suspect your little one has a seasonal allergy.  

What is an allergy? 

An allergy occurs when a substance in the environment causes a person’s immune system to react. For most people, these substances are harmless, but in those with allergies, repeated exposure to the substance causes a hypersensitivity to it. When exposed, the body then produces antibodies and histamines to fight the perceived ‘threat’ – hence, the allergic reaction. Possible allergens include;
  • pollen
  • foods
  • dust mites
  • pets
  • insects
  • moulds
  • some medicines – eg/ penicillin
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What are seasonal allergies? 

Seasonal allergies often flare up in spring but can also occur in summer and autumn. Seasonal allergies are typically triggered by weeds, grasses and trees that produce pollen. Released into the air and carried on the wind to fertilise other plants, these tiny pollen particles can end up in our eyes and nose. For most of us, we won’t even notice this is happening. For those with seasonal allergies, it can result in a range of frustrating symptoms – often referred to as hay fever. These include:
  • sneezing
  • itchy and runny nose
  • red, itchy and watery eyes
  • stuffy nose
  • itchy throat and coughing
  

So can babies have seasonal allergies? 

The good news is that seasonal allergies are rare in babies under the age of 2 -3. This is probably because they don’t spend a lot of time outdoors and so haven’t been repeatedly exposed to allergens like pollen. If your child is going to develop an allergy to pollen, it’s more likely to become apparent after the age of three. And if the biological parents have allergies, the likelihood of the child also having an allergy is increased. So what happens if your baby is having symptoms that seem to match those of seasonal allergies? There could be a number of reasons for the sneezing and red, watery eyes – including allergies to other household allergens. Visit your GP or paediatrician to chat about your concerns and determine what the next steps should be.

What about seasonal allergies and eczema?

Not everyone with seasonal allergies will also have eczema – and vice versa – but there does appear to be a link. You might notice that your child’s eczema gets worse during peak allergy seasons and though the reasons why are still being investigated by scientists, there are certain measures you can take to reduce a flare up.
  • Stay inside during high pollen days and in windy weather – if you must go out, early morning is typically when the pollen count is lowest
  • If you have to go out during a peak pollen time, give your baby a bath once you return home – use a gentle baby wash to remove pollen from the hair and skin
  • Moisturise daily with a nourishing natural lotion – choose waterless skin care to boost the soothing moisturisation
  • Wash towels and bedding frequently in hot water and avoid line drying outside as pollen can stick to fabric
  • Vacuum weekly, using a vacuum with a HEPA filter if possible, to reduce dust and other allergens in the home.
If eczema has been an issue for you or your partner, it’s worth getting into the habit of following a skin care routine for your baby that will help protect their delicate skin. Keeping the skin well moisturised is really the key to avoiding big eczema flare ups. As always, if your baby experiences any symptoms that worry you, see your trusted health care professional. That’s what they’re there for and no question is a silly one when it comes to health and well-being of our precious littles!  

Browse our range of Australian Allergy Certified® baby skin care here.