Skip to main content

What kind of allergy medicine is best for your baby?

Allergies can be a complete pain. No one wants to deal with itchy and watery eyes, a runny nose, or an irritated throat. This is even more true when it comes to your baby, who can’t understand what’s happening and why they feel the way they do. The scary situation is difficult for them to relay to you, and you just want to help your baby get relief. Allergy medicine is usually an essential item for your infant – they are commonly kept in first-aid kits alongside over-the-counter medicines. But should you really get allergy medicine for your child? 

Allergic reactions in babies

The good news is, in general, infants aren’t prime candidates for seasonal allergies. They’re more likely to experience food allergies or skin allergies. Allergies, just like asthma, are also most likely to appear around age 4 and are more likely if a parent has allergies or asthma. 

Common signs of allergies in children are the same as those you might see in an adult:

  • Postnasal drip
  • Either a runny or stuffy nose (or a mixture of both)
  • Sneezing
  • Watery, itchy, red eyes
  • Inflamed, itchy, or rash-covered skin
  • Ear infections or discomfort

If you suspect your child has severe allergies, you’ll want to speak to a pediatrician, especially if your child is below the age of 4. 

Food allergies in infants 

baby at table
Troy T/Unsplash

Often, there’s no need to worry about food allergies in infants until your child has begun eating foods other than formula or breast milk. After that point, many recommend you steer clear of feeding your child some of the most common food allergens, including:

  • Peanuts and tree nuts
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Seafood
  • Soy
  • Wheat

While the signs of an infant food allergy overlap a little with some of the most common signs of allergies in children, food allergies also present as gastrointestinal problems, swelling of the face or limbs, and sometimes trouble breathing. Unlike many allergies that can be treated with baby allergy medicine, food-related allergic reactions are more serious and should be treated by a professional, and quickly. 

Seasonal and indoor allergies in infants

Seasonal and indoor allergies in infants are usually less severe and easier to care for, and they can be detected by the presence of the most common signs of allergies. 

One of the first things you can do to alleviate your infant’s seasonal or indoor allergies, before trying a baby allergy medicine, is to remove the allergen. This might include removing fresh flowers or plants from your home, keeping windows closed during allergy season, keeping your home exceptionally clean, switching to a new perfume or fragranced beauty product, cleaning dust-attractant pillows or blankets, or investigating the possibility of mold or mildew in your home.

Treatment for infant allergies

If removing the allergen isn’t enough to keep your infant’s allergies at bay, it may be time to try some baby allergy medicine. 

Antihistamines are available over the counter and come in various forms, including syrup, chewable tablets, and meltable tablets. Both antihistamines and decongestants are popular to treat seasonal and indoor allergies. 

If your child exhibits skin reactions to an allergen, your pediatrician may prescribe a corticosteroid, which is available as creams and nasal sprays, as well as pills and liquids.  

Some parents, especially parents of infants who are too young to take many baby allergy medicines, additionally prefer to use a nasal bulb to clear infants’ nasal passageways and flush them with a baby-safe saline compound.

Allergy medicine for babies under 2

Popular baby allergy medicine options include Zyrtec and Allegra, both of which can be given to children as young as six months old. It’s vital, however, to talk to your pediatrician before you give any allergy medicine to your child and that you follow proper concentration and dosing recommendations. 

Quick check: Is it a cold or allergies?

baby with thermometer and pills
Polina Tankilevitch/Pexels

One thing you always want to be sure of, no matter how young or old your child, is whether or not the allergy-related symptoms they’re exhibiting are caused by actual allergies or, instead, the common cold. Since there’s a lot of overlap in the various symptoms, you don’t want to make the mistake of picking an incorrect treatment. 

Look at when and how your baby exhibits their symptoms. Colds can last up to two weeks in a baby, while allergies can last an entire season. A fever may also accompany a cold, but fevers are very rarely present during an allergic reaction.

Easing your baby’s discomfort

While treating allergies in babies certainly isn’t easy, especially if you have a child under six months, there are solutions. Talk to your pediatrician if you suspect your child has allergies and, together, come up with a way to ease your baby’s discomfort. 

Editors' Recommendations

Holly Riddle
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Holly Riddle is a freelance food, travel and lifestyle journalist, who also dabbles in copywriting, ghostwriting and fiction…
Are baby walkers safe? 5 dangerous reasons you shouldn’t add one to your registry
Learn why baby walkers are unsafe
Infant in baby walker

Baby walkers are a common shower gift and considered a must-have item in some circles. While in others baby walkers are considered taboo. So, what should parents know about baby walkers? Are baby walkers safe for your child to use? These are questions you may be asking as your infant is getting to the age where he or she is starting to walk and explore. Although baby walkers may be a popular gift and toy, the reality is they are actually quite unsafe.

Even though you may have used a baby walker as a child yourself, in this day and age, there is quite a bit of information about just how hazardous baby walkers can be. If you're considering getting a baby walker, putting one on your registry, or if you already have a baby walker in your home, keep reading before you pop your toddler in.

Read more
Should your kids have an Apple Watch?
These are the pros and cons of an Apple Watch for your kid
A person checking their Apple watch.

If there’s one thing on every kid’s wish list when they get to a certain age, it’s a smartwatch. Wearables are the coolest and fun new gadgets for kids, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight with the demand for one. Smartwatches are the height of convenience, allowing users to leave their phones in their bags and do everything right there on their wrists. But since there isn't a kids' Apple Watch version available, children are getting the real deal.

With all the convenience, though, some people have major privacy concerns about wearable devices, especially when it comes to their children. When used correctly with appropriate parental controls, smartwatches, especially the Apple Watch, could be a boon to both kids and parents alike. But should your kid sport a device designed for adults? Let's see if children should wear an Apple Watch or if it's one more device they shouldn't be left alone with.

Read more
This one sure signal your toddler feels out of control
Toddler pulling hair may mean they're feeling out of control
Toddler pulling their hair

The toddler years are full of development and discovery that can often be a bit overwhelming for them at times. Let's face it, toddlers are inundated with new experiences almost daily, which can often lead to some behaviors you may find troubling. As a result, they can often become frustrated as they try to process all this new information. They don't call them the 'terrible twos' for nothing!

While temper tantrums and meltdowns come hand in hand with having a toddler, there are other behaviors that may be a sign that they're not quite feeling like themselves. If your toddler is pulling their own hair, it may be because they feel out of control, which can be completely understandable. Toddlers pulling their hair is a very common behavior and is often a form of self-soothing that helps them cope with stressful situations. If you've noticed your toddler has begun to pull their hair, there are some things you can do to help.

Read more