Seasonal Allergies In Children

Smiling girl writing and lying on bed

No one wants seasonal allergies!

Runny noses, itchy red and watering eyes, and sneezing or breathing difficulty in a child often signals an allergic reaction to something in the child’s environment. It can be a response to a certain food or chemical, but often times it’s a result of “something in the air,” or a seasonal allergy.

Outdoor plants and molds release pollen and spores at certain times of the year as part of their reproductive process, and it’s not unusual to find that your child develops those cold-like symptoms at the same time every year. Exactly when the sneezing and itchy eyes appear will vary from region to region, based on the growing season and what exactly the child is allergic to. Trees and weeds pollinate at different times of the year so while there may be no symptoms when the pine trees are pollinating, your child might be miserable when the goldenrod is.

Seasonal allergies are diagnosed based on a combination of tests and anecdotal information. A blood or skin test is performed, and then combined with information about the child’s symptoms in order to figure out what the allergen is. A blood test looks for specific markers in the blood called allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) that indicate an allergy, and a skin test involves putting a small amount of the suspected allergen on or under the skin.

There really is no treatment that will definitely make the allergy go away, but your child may outgrow them. There’s also a desensitization treatment that involves building up the immune system by introducing regular, small amounts of the allergen to your child’s body (aka “allergy shots”). But the best way to treat them is to try to keep your child and your home as free of the allergens as possible. If your child is allergic to grass, don’t make him/her mow the lawn if possible. Keep windows closed and use the air conditioning as much as possible, and have your child shower/wash and change clothes after playing outside.

If your child still experiences symptoms, there are medicines that help alleviate the symptoms such as anti-histamines, decongestants, and steroidal nasal sprays. If all else fails, allergy shots may help.

*Always consult a doctor if you have questions regarding your child’s allergies or overall health.

 

Written by: Sharan Kaur, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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Seasonal Allergies: How To Recognize & Treat Them

Indian girl holding an green apple outdoorAhhh! Spring is finally appearing across the country with warmer temperatures and an explosion of blooms. But for many people, this is a mixed bag if they suffer from allergies.

How can you tell if you’re having an allergic reaction versus a cold or the flu? The symptoms are very similar: sneezing, itchy watery eyes, coughing and an excess of mucus production. Therein lies the difference – if you’re having an allergic reaction, your mucus will be clear, not yellow. And you will likely not have a fever, another sign of an infection.

So what are your options? How can you best treat the symptoms in an adult and in children, who especially want to be outdoors in the nicer weather?

Because there is no cure for allergies, although many children will outgrow them in time, the best treatment is usually a combination of prevention and OTC (over the counter) remedies that will alleviate symptoms.

The first line of treatment is often an antihistamine which will help clear up many of the uncomfortable symptoms. There are antihistamines specially developed for children (and adults) that have few side effects. Caution must be used in both children and adults not to exceed the recommended dosage. Also, since some antihistamines can cause drowsiness, driving or operating any type of equipment or machinery is not advisable.

Other OTC treatments include nasal sprays (usually saline) and eye drops. A doctor may prescribe allergy shots as well.

The other option is prevention, which means that you must first know what is causing the allergic reaction. This can be determined by a test or series of tests that will expose you to a number of possible allergens. Once you have determined the source or sources of discomfort, you can reduce or eliminate your exposure to them.

Happy Spring and here’s to being able to enjoy all its splendor and beauty in the great outdoors!

Always consult your doctor if you have questions or concerns regarding your allergies or overall health.

Written by: Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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