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Q & A of the Day: What causes baby snot?

Posted Oct 22 2008 12:04am

I was wondering if you could address how common a runny nose is for a food allergy. My 7-month old had a runny nose/congestion every morning from around 10 am to 4 pm and nothing in his daily routine had changed. Are we over analyzing the runny nose?

A few comments:
1. True food allergies can cause vomiting, blood in the poop, eczema, hives, and respiratory distress/anaphylaxis in severe cases. But, they don't cause congestion or a runny nose.

2. Most babies under a year of age do not have seasonal allergies or hay fever. A good rule of thumb: you have to live through the pollen season, then be reexposed to the season to mount an allergic response.

3. If the snot shows up with a cough and a fever, it's caused by an infection.

4. But, one commonly overlooked reason that babies are snotty is acid reflux. The spitter uppers are the easy ones to diagnose. Some babies will have nasal congestion, a chronic cough, and sometimes even wheeze due to the milk coming back up behind the throat. So, if you have a well appearing baby with a perpetually snotty nose, this might be the answer.

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