Springtime means new beginnings; new plants, baby animals, and white fluffy clouds in the sky. It’s also a time for new allergies and if those allergies affect your baby you’re going to want to take care of them naturally. While there may be a million over the counter allergy medications on the market, very, very few are safe for little ones. Let’s take a look at a more natural approach to managing your baby’s allergies.
What is an Allergy?
Basically speaking, an allergy is your child’s immune system’s overreaction to an allergen. When your child’s body comes in contact with harmful agents like bacteria or viruses, it’s supposed to ramp up the immune response in order to squash that bad bug before he gets really sick. However, in the case of an allergy the immune response is due to something not harmful like a wee bit of cat dander or pollen. The symptoms of allergies are all due to that immune response. Common children’s allergens include pollen, dust mites, animal dander, and chemical fragrances or dyes. Allergies can show up as respiratory issues like coughing, sneezing, running nose and watery eyes while contact allergens like from chemicals in your laundry detergent can cause a rash. Food allergies can produce a rash and digestive issues like vomiting and diarrhea
How to Remedy Your Baby’s Allergies Naturally
The best way to get your baby relief from allergies is to avoid the allergen. Sounds simple, right? The truth is it’s anything but simple. It can be very difficult to determine exactly what your child is allergic to and then to avoid it altogether. But it’s worth a try. Keep an allergy journalnoting your baby’s symptoms, when they appeared and what your baby did that day, what she came in contact with and what she ate. With persistence and a little luck, you may be able to pinpoint the issue. Here are some other remedies for your baby’s allergies.
- Avoidance: Even if allergens are known, avoidance could be an issue. What if your baby is allergic to the grass in your yard or to the pollen from trees? Does that mean he never goes outside again? Hopefully not. By watching the pollen count and wearing protective clothing some kids can make these allergies tolerable. If there is a known food allergen, don’t feed that food to you baby. Easy, but make sure all caretakers know about that allergy and that your baby doesn’t get any ready-made food items without first checking the ingredients.
- Clean ‘til You Drop: Alright, hopefully you won’t drop, but allergy treatments can involve a lot of cleaning. Since common allergen culprits include dust mites, mold and pet dander, cleaning is the best way to get rid of them. You may wish to use mite proof mattress covers and synthetic pillows and comforters. Vacuuming carpets, rugs, and furniture can help decrease allergens as well as washing walls, floors, and other hard surfaces with a mild bleach solution. This may need to be done weekly if not more often. Be sure to clean those forgotten areas like your ceiling fan, tops of framed pictures, and under and behindfurniture.
- Filters: Installing a HEPA filter on your heating or air conditioning unit can help cut down on circulating allergens. You can also purchase a stand-alone filter to have in your child’s most used rooms. For outdoor allergies, make sure windows stay closed during problem times and that your cooling unit is on recirculate to keep allergens outside. For a more natural filter, looking into air purifying houseplants.
- Do Without: For more severe allergies in your baby, you may have to ditch a few things to help them breathe easier. Removing carpeting and fabric covered furniture from your home can really cut down on allergens. Replace them with area rugs that can be washed frequently and leather or vinyl type furniture. You may also have to move pets outside or to other areas of your home. Stuffed animals can harbor allergens, so consider keeping a few favorites that can be washed and re-gifting the rest.
- Hypoallergenic Detergents: Using hypoallergenic laundry detergents can decrease issues with contact allergens. Hypoallergenic detergents are free from chemical fragrances and dyes that can cause irritation to your baby’s sensitive skin. If you can’t nail down the exact cause of your child’s allergy or are having a hard time decreasing exposure, you may be stuck with just treating symptoms. Fortunately, there are several natural things to try before resorting to medications.
- Saline: For a persistently congested nose try a saline flush. This should only be done on older kids to avoid aspirating the solution. Have your child tip her head to one side and pour a mild saline solution into one nostril until it runs out the other. A mild saline solution can also be used to flush itchy, watery eyes. For babies look into using Boogie Drops and Boogie Wipes to clear congestion.
- Moisturizers: Liberally applying a moisturizing lotion,like Aveeno Eczema Therapy, Eucerin or Cetaphil, to your baby’s itchy, red rash two to three times a day can help soothe dryness and prevent scratching.
- Bathe: Taking a bath at the end of everyday can help remove pollens and other allergens from your kid’s hair and skin. You should also encourage them to blow their nose and flush their eyes to remove allergens from these areas too. Relaxing in a nice steamy bathroom can help loosen sinus congestion as well. You can also add eucalyptus essential oils to the bath for even more vaporizing relief.
Can You Prevent Your Baby From Ever Experiencing Allergies?
Unfortunately, there’s no ‘Allergy Free’ box to check before the stork delivers your baby. But there are some steps you can take to help prevent your baby from developing allergies. First of all, breastfeeding for six months or more can decrease your baby’s chance of developing allergies, especially if you avoid high allergy foods like cow’s milk, nuts, and eggs. You should also never smoke around your baby or in the house even when your baby isn’t there. Second hand smoke is an irritant for your baby’s sensitive respiratory system.
One thing about allergies is for sure and that is they’re no fun for anyone, especially your baby. There are ways you can help her naturally without the use of side effect causing medications. These natural remedies take a little patience, persistence and determination but can have your baby looking forward to spring and all the new things this season brings.