Babies get sick more easily than adults because their immune systems haven’t fully developed. They tend to contract illnesses more often and more severely than older children and adults. Babies can also suffer from allergies, and it can be difficult for new parents to tell if their baby is sick or simply experiencing allergies. Babies can’t tell you what the problem is, so it’s up to the parents to read the signs and figure it out for themselves. Check out this guide on how to tell if a baby has a cold or allergies.
Symptoms of an illness
Usually, babies under the age of 12 months haven’t yet developed allergies, so most symptoms will point toward a cold, which tends to exhibit symptoms more severe than those of allergies. If your baby experiences congestion, a fever, or fatigue, they probably have some sort of illness. A fever rules out allergies, since allergic reactions don’t cause fevers in children. Watch your child closely for any developments or worsening symptoms—if your baby has a fever for more than three days or if mild symptoms begin to worsen, call your pediatrician to rule out something more severe.
Symptoms of allergies
Learning how to identify the signs of seasonal allergies in your infant can be a difficult task, but knowing the most common symptoms is a great start. Babies can be allergic to a wide range of things, but the most common allergens are dust, animal dander, and outdoor elements such as pollen and grasses. These can cause itchy and watery eyes, which you can tell your baby has if they’re rubbing their eyes or if their eyes appear red. Allergies can also cause a runny nose, which you’ll also be able to notice. Cough and mild congestion are also common symptoms of allergies. If your baby has a slight cough or some mild congestion, they may be suffering from allergies. However, if the congestion is moderate or severe, it may be a sign of an illness. You may be able to relieve your baby’s discomfort with a nasal aspirator, but if you’re unsure of the best course of treatment for congestion, don’t hesitate to call your child’s pediatrician for more information.
Using these ways to tell if your baby has a cold or allergies can be tricky, but you’re not alone in your search for answers. Your child’s pediatrician is a great resource—call with any concerns or questions you may have to get the most accurate information available on any illnesses or potential allergies from which your baby may be suffering.