What are the signs and symptoms of allergies in children?

Dr. Paul M. Ehrlich, MD
Allergist & Immunologist

Parental allergies are the best predictor of allergies in children, although there are many variations. In general though, the timeline is pretty standard:

First weeks

  • Colic. Indicative of allergy to components of formula, such as milk, eggs, and soy.

Up to 2 years of age

  • Atopic dermatitis, eczema
  • Red, rosy cheeks, or "healthy baby" look. Progresses at a few years of age to dry, itchy skin and lichenification in the front of elbow (the antecubital area) and behind the knee (the popliteal).
  • Recurring bronchiolitis (two or more episodes). Should prompt examination of family history, total IgE levels for age and other signs of allergy.
  • Food allergy. Immature digestive system absorbs whole proteins instead of breaking them down into useful components.

Two to three years of age

  • Nasal symptoms with dark rings.
  • Frequent ear infections (aerotitis, serositis). Until age 5 or 6.
  • Asthma. Generally appears after age 2 and before age 10.

After five years of age

  • Seasonal allergies. Become important after several pollen seasons and continual exposure to household allergens such as dust mites, molds and cockroaches.


Asthma Allergies Children: A Parent's Guide

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Asthma Allergies Children: A Parent's Guide

Asthma and allergies are at epidemic proportions. It doesn't have to be that way. Two experienced pediatric allergists tell everything a conscientious parent needs to know about these conditions,...
Ms. Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

Watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, itching, hives, eczema, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting are symptoms of allergic reactions in children. However, tingling sensation in the mouth, swelling of the tongue and the throat, difficulty breathing, drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness and even death can occur with severe reactions.

Allergies are an exaggerated immune response triggered by a variety of substances, from food to pets and chemicals, mold and plants. They cause such symptoms as sinus inflammation, itchy eyes, nasal congestion, skin rashes, scratchy throat, hives and difficulty breathing. Of all chronic conditions affecting children, allergies rank near the top. The good news is that your child may outgrow whatever allergy they have today!

From Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children by Jennifer Trachtenberg.

Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children

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Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children

When kids start going on TV binges or devouring fistfuls of cookies, it's easy to say, "They'll grow out of it." More likely, they're acquiring bad habits that could lead to childhood obesity and...
Dr. Iris M. Rodriguez-Ocasio, MD

Besides seeing the typical sneezing and runny nose which is mistaken for a cold one sees allergic shiners on the lower lids or darkening of the lower lids and the allergic salute or a crease along the nose which are hallmarks of allergies.

When children who are allergic come in contact with allergens, their bodies release chemicals, including histamine, into the bloodstream to defend against them. It’s the release of these chemicals that causes the discomfort of allergy symptoms. Allergy symptoms, which usually come on suddenly and last as long as a child is exposed to a particular allergen, can include:

  • sneezing
  • itchy nose and/or throat
  • nasal congestion
  • clear, runny nose
  • coughing
  • itchy, watery and/or red eyes
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Here are two odd allergy symptoms: One, kids can form a crease in the skin right above the tip of the nose. That's caused by the constant upward rubbing from nose to forehead in kids with runny noses, known as the allergic salute. And two, kids can develop folds and dark circles under their eyes, called allergic shiners. This doesn't necessarily mean that your little bub is tired; it could mean that there's a lot of vascular congestion under the eye. With allergies, you accumulate fluid in the padding behind the eyeball. All that fluid causes the area to sag because it's heavy, and voila, the dark bags appear right before your (and beneath your child's) eyes.

YOU: Raising Your Child: The Owner's Manual from First Breath to First Grade

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There’s little doubt that parenting can be one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences you’ll ever have. But it can be plenty tough, too: Around the clock, you’re working to keep your...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.