5 Ways to Soothe Your Child’s Allergy Symptoms

Allergies (allergic rhinitis) are a common childhood problem, and it’s estimated that about 40% of children experience allergic rhinitis each day. An allergy is the body’s response to a substance (allergen) that causes a hypersensitivity reaction.

Allergies can be caused by various factors, such as plant pollen, insect bites, animal fur, dust mites, mold, environmental irritants, and food. While severe allergies need to be treated by a healthcare provider, mild symptoms may benefit from natural remedies.

This article will discuss common symptoms and causes of allergies in children and toddlers and home remedies to treat them. 

A father helps his child blow his nose.

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Symptoms of Children’s Allergies

Your child’s allergy symptoms will depend on which type of allergy they are experiencing. Seasonal allergies usually start between ages 2 and 5. Children younger than 2 usually do not experience seasonal allergies because it takes exposure to two years of the season to develop an allergy. 

Symptoms of allergic rhinitis caused by seasonal allergies may include:

  • Runny nose
  • Red, itchy eyes 
  • Itching
  • Sneezing
  • Postnasal drip
  • Stuffy nose 
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing 
  • Mouth-breathing 
  • Trouble sleeping
  • No fever 

Food allergies cause different symptoms that can become very dangerous. Children under 2 may develop a cows milk allergy, and food allergies can start as early as the first year of life. Possible symptoms of a food allergy in toddlers include:

  • Hives
  • Swelling
  • Itchy rash
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pale skin
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Acute irritability or crying

Severe allergies that cause serious symptoms must be treated by a healthcare provider. 

Causes of Allergies in Toddlers 

The most common causes of allergies in toddlers and young children include: 

  • Pollen: Pollen from trees, plants, weeds, and grass cannot be avoided because it stays in the air we breathe. Pollen season allergies usually last about four to eight weeks each year. 
  • Dust: Dust contains common allergens and dust mites. Dust allergies occur year-round. 
  • Animals: Pets and other animals can cause allergies in children. The symptoms may occur up to a few hours after exposure. Often, symptoms start within 20-30 minutes of interacting with the pet. Insects and pests like cockroaches and mice can also cause allergic reactions. 
  • Irritants: Environmental irritants like latex, chemicals, and medications can cause allergies in both children and adults. 

The most common allergenic foods that cause allergies in children include:

Uncontrolled seasonal allergies can lead to chronic ear infections in young children. Allergic rhinitis causes inflammation in the ears. When fluid builds up in the inner ear, it can become infected and lead to an ear infection. 

How to Treat Allergies Naturally 

Children with mild allergy symptoms may benefit from trying a natural home remedy. 

Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera gel may help toddlers and children with skin allergy symptoms such as itching or redness. Aloe vera has been proven to effectively treat skin injuries like cuts, burns, and insect bites because of its wound-healing properties. Ask your healthcare provider for a recommendation for child-friendly aloe vera gels. 

Eye Drops 

Eye drops can be an effective treatment for children who experience eye allergy symptoms like redness, itching, and swelling. If your toddler or child is open to trying eye drops, have them lie down flat on their back. Pull down one eyelid and squeeze one drop into the lower eyelid. Then have your child rest with their eyes closed for two minutes. 

If your toddler or child is not cooperative with eye drops, you may still be able to use them. Have your child lie down with their eyes closed. Squeeze one eye drop into the inner corner of their closed eye. When your child naturally blinks, the medication will flow into their eye. Ask your healthcare provider or pediatrician which eye drops are safe for toddlers or young children. 

Cold Compress 

A warm or cold compress is an easy remedy that is safe for most children to try. It is helpful for children who experience allergic rhinitis and eye allergy symptoms, such as red, itchy eyes. To start, wash your child’s face to clear out any allergens that have attached to the skin. 

To make the cold compress, fill a small bowl with ice water. Submerge a clean washcloth in the water and wring out any excess water. Encourage your child to rest with the compress for 10 minutes. 

Saline Solution 

Rinsing your child’s sinuses with a saline solution can be very helpful for allergic rhinitis symptoms if your child is open to trying it. Researchers found that saline nasal irrigation improved nasal symptoms in study participants and reduced the need for allergy medicine. 

Diet Changes 

Diet changes are necessary for children who have a food allergy. If your healthcare provider suspects that your child has a class IgE mediated food allergy (when your child's immune system causes a reaction to one or more foods), they may recommend an elimination diet. During an elimination diet, your child would eliminate all of the commonly allergenic foods from their diet and then slowly add them back in one by one. If your child has an allergy to milk, then they should avoid only milk products.

Fortunately, many food allergies are temporary. It is estimated that 80% to 90% of children with egg, milk, wheat, and soy allergies will outgrow them by age 5.

For allergic rhinitis symptoms, probiotics may help. Research has found that a daily probiotic supplement may improve symptoms and quality of life in individuals with allergies.

Talk with your child’s healthcare provider before trying any new natural remedies. 

How to Prevent Allergies in Toddlers 

Allergies are caused by an immune system response and cannot be completely prevented. The best way to address allergies in toddlers is to avoid your child’s triggers as much as possible. Children with food allergies should avoid the food group they are allergic to. 

If your child has a pollen allergy, try to decrease the time you both spend outdoors during the pollen season. Keep your windows shut to keep pollen from entering your home. Wipe down any pets that are spending time outdoors as well since their fur can trap pollen.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

If your child is still uncomfortable after trying some home remedies, consult your healthcare provider. Allergies that cause serious symptoms like trouble breathing need to be addressed immediately. If your child’s allergy symptoms are serious enough to keep them from attending school or daycare, your healthcare provider may be able to help. They may discuss treatment options, such as allergy testing, medications, and immunotherapy (allergy shots). 


Allergies are a common problem in toddlers and young children. Possible symptoms include a runny nose, itchy eyes, skin rashes, hives, vomiting, diarrhea, and trouble breathing. Common causes of allergies in children include pollen, dust, animal dander, irritants, and food. Home remedies may be effective at treating mild allergy symptoms in children. 

A Word From Verywell

Allergy symptoms can leave your little one feeling miserable. As a parent or caregiver, you are likely feeling anxious to help your child feel better as soon as possible. First, talk with a healthcare provider about home remedies to try. If home remedies have not helped your toddler's or child's symptoms, make an appointment with your healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can seasonal allergies be cured naturally?

    Allergies are caused by an immune system response and cannot be cured with natural remedies. However, mild allergy symptoms can be effectively treated with home remedies. 

  • How do I stop a runny nose?

    To help stop your child’s runny nose, have them blow their nose often. Encourage them to drink plenty of fluids and consider using a humidifier at home. 

  • Do humidifiers help with allergies?

    Humidifiers release steam or water vapor to increase the amount of humidity in the air. Breathing higher humidity air can help to relieve allergic rhinitis symptoms and lower inflammation. Although, high humidity can lead to higher dust mite counts since they thrive in warm, moist environments. Talk with your healthcare provider to see if this would be a good option for you.

12 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  5. Cedars Sinai. Allergies in children.

  6. The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Children and allergies.

  7. Sánchez M, González-Burgos E, Iglesias I, Gómez-Serranillos MP. Pharmacological update properties of aloe vera and its major active constituents. Molecules. 2020;25(6):1324. doi:10.3390/molecules25061324

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  11. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. IgE mediated food allergies.

  12. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. When to see an allergist.

By Carrie Madormo, RN, MPH
Carrie Madormo, RN, MPH, is a health writer with over a decade of experience working as a registered nurse. She has practiced in a variety of settings including pediatrics, oncology, chronic pain, and public health.