Baby Allergy Facts
Although you may not dare leave the house these days without checking the pollen count and stuffing your pockets with Kleenex, luckily you need not worry -- yet -- that your baby will also experience hay fever. "Allergies develop after a cumulative exposure to an allergen," explains Anne Miranowski, M.D., a pediatric allergist in Fairfax, Virginia. "An infant doesn't spend enough time outdoors to develop a reaction to tree pollen, grass, or ragweed." However, allergic reactions to food and indoor environmental irritants can occur during baby's first year and might trigger symptoms like red eyes, sneezing, sniffling, or eczema.
If you or your partner has an allergy, your baby is at increased risk. Her allergy may be completely different, though; if you're allergic to pollen, your child might react to cats. But even if you and your spouse never itch or sneeze, your kid isn't necessarily in the clear. Childhood allergies are on the rise, and many young sufferers have no family history. Some experts think our superclean, ultra-hygienic lifestyle plays a role. If kids live in an almost-germ-free bubble, the theory goes, their immune system will pick fights with other invaders, like foods or household particles. Of course, we're not suggesting you abandon hand sanitizer -- which is why we asked experts for practical advice on how to manage the types of allergies that affect infants most.