Puffy eyes in an infant might indicate allergies. There are various triggers for an allergic reaction including dust mites, pollen and even milk. This is why it can be difficult to differentiate the allergy symptoms from pink eye or common cold.
As for allergies, the symptoms are usually symmetrical. Unlike with pink eye, the puffiness and itchiness is not accompanied by discharge. The ideal way to ensure comfort for the child is to promptly treat the puffy eyes.
Measures in caring for puffy eyes
- Apply a drop of breast milk in the affected eye. Take note that the antibacterial quality in breast milk is beneficial in alleviating the itchiness and irritation.
- Cover the crib mattress with a dust-mite proof cover. This cover is breathable and does not crinkle.
- Apply a cold compress on the puffy eyes for a few minutes to minimize the puffiness.
- Regularly dust and vacuum at least every other week particularly in the nursery to eliminate any dander and other allergens.
- The bedding of the infant must be washed once every week using hot water. A laundry detergent that is specially formulated as hypoallergenic should be used.
- The carpet in the nursery should be replaced if the allergy is severe. It is recommended to install a smooth floor such as hardwood or vinyl.
Important considerations to bear in mind
The allergic reactions have the potential to become deadly. If the puffy eyes of the infant occur along with wheezing, difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath or vomiting, he/she might be experiencing anaphylaxis. Take note that this type of reaction is life-threatening and must be managed right away. In most cases, the emergency team manages this condition using a shot of injectable epinephrine.
It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact allergen responsible for the eye irritation. It is recommended to keep a record of the reactions and when they manifest to help determine the culprits.
In case allergies are common in the family, the child should be breastfed until he/she is at least 6 months old. Remember that breast milk provides potent antibodies that can ward off allergies. If formula feeding is chosen, use a hypoallergenic brand in which the proteins have been broken down into undetectable quantities.