Learn about common nasal and skin allergies in children that can cause rashes, hives, hay fever and coughing.
Allergies are an over-reaction a part of the body's immune system; that complex network of cells and tissues which normally help protect the body from foreign substances. Some examples of organs that can be affected by allergic reactions are the eyes, nose, skin, lungs and the digestive system. The substances that trigger an allergic reaction of the immune system are known as allergens. Allergies tend to run in families and are commonly seen in people who also have an allergic skin condition called eczema or an allergic lung condition called asthma. Allergies can cause many different symptoms depending on the age of the child and which organ in the body is affected by the allergic reaction. An allergic reaction may affect the skin causing a rash. Hives are a common allergic reaction that we see with itchy raised red welts. Allergies of the digestive system may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. Babies and younger children may react with fussiness, irritability or lots of crying. Allergies affecting the nose are the most common and are usually due to allergens that are breathed in. Nasal allergies called hay fever or allergic rhinitis may cause a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, red watery eyes and cough. Young children with allergies may have symptoms of asthma which cause rapid shallow breathing, wheezing, a whistling exhalation and a dry cough. If you suspect that your child may have allergies, you should talk with a doctor who may be able to diagnose allergies by examining your child and reviewing his or her symptoms and medical history. In some cases, the doctor may order some blood or skin tests on the child to make a diagnosis of allergy. Sometimes allergist, doctors who specialize in allergies, will do these studies. If there are signs of asthma, lung function testing might also be appropriate.