One of the most difficult things for a parent to do is determine whether his or her toddler has a cold or a food allergy.
Both colds and food allergies cause runny noses and coughing. If you are continually wiping your toddler's nose and this symptom continues for more than a week, it may be caused by an allergy.
Other Allergy Symptoms
Besides symptoms that affect the respiratory system, food allergies can cause other serious symptoms. The digestive system can be affected, and the child may experience diarrhea or vomiting, and he or she may cry and complain of a stomachache. Rectal bleeding is also a symptom that affects the digestive system.
The skin is another area where allergy symptoms appear. Many toddlers develop rashes on their cheeks, around their mouths, chest and back, or even on their entire body. Hives may also develop. If they do, this can be a sign of a serious allergic reaction.
Keep a Food Journal
Another way to discover the cause of your child's runny nose or other allergy symptoms is to keep a food journal by writing down the foods your child eats for two weeks. Some common allergens among children do cause runny noses as a symptom. One of these is an allergy to soy. More serious symptoms can develop from eating other foods as well, and the symptoms of peanut allergies can also mimic a common cold in some young children who have eaten peanut products.
Most toddlers do not seem to be bothered by a runny nose, and parents are not surprised when a young child develops this symptom since toddlers usually get a number of colds each year. Keep in mind that a food allergy could be the cause of this symptom, and it could cause a more serious reaction if your child eats a particular food again. The most common trigger for anaphylaxis is peanuts or peanut products. Anaphylaxis can occur only minutes after eating a certain food, or even an hour after eating.
Parents who have a soy, peanut or other food allergy need to use more caution if their toddler develops respiratory allergy symptoms, digestive tract symptoms, a rash or hives. It can be tricky to know if your child has eaten soy or peanuts, since these foods are included as unseen ingredients in many different processed foods like cookies and cereal. If a close relative has a food allergy, watch your child each time you introduce a new food. Parents who have had to rush their child to the hospital with anaphylaxis almost always recommend being overly cautious rather than ignoring your child's symptoms.