HOW TO HELP MY CHILD WITH ALLERGIES
HOW TO HELP MY CHILD WITH ALLERGIES | Ks pediatrics
For some children, spring time comes with sneezing, runny noses, sniffles, drainage and a cough. About 15% of our population is impacted by allergy symptoms like these, called Allergic Rhinitis. If allergy symptoms come on primarily in the spring or fall, they may be associated with pollen that is part of growing trees, weeds and grasses. When a sensitive person inhales air that has pollen in it (known as an allergen), the body’s immune system reacts abnormally. The allergen binds to antibodies (immunoglobulin E) within their body, and produces the response of releasing a chemical called histamine. This response can then make the small blood vessels become larger in the nose and sinuses, causing the leaking of fluids into the surrounding tissues. This makes a lot of mucous. When this happens, some symptoms such as a runny nose, congestion, drainage, itching and swelling may happen in the nose and eyes.
Plants which produce pollen can release millions of pollen particles which can be blown miles from its source. While avoidance would be ideal, avoiding all pollen is not possible. Below are a few examples of ways that you can limit pollen exposure for your child:
- Keep the windows closed in the home to limit outdoor air from coming inside.
- Regularly change the filters on the air-conditioner to filter out pollen in the indoor air; you may even use a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter in your home.
- Avoid going outdoors before 10:00 in the morning when the air is more heavily saturated with pollen particles.
- Shower and change clothes after spending time outside.
When avoidance is not possible and your child has significant symptoms, there are a few over the counter medications which may help your child to feel better. Your child may need more than one of these, and may need them for more than 1 or 2 days for the best benefit. Many of these work better with regular use, so using them daily during the spring and fall will give your child the best control over their allergies.
- Benadryl – this medication will help to dry up their runny nose, limit coughing from drainage, and help with itching or irritation in the nose, eyes, and skin. Unfortunately, it makes many people drowsy. For this reason, it is best to give to your child at bedtime when they are experiencing these symptoms. It may help them to sleep, and they should wake up with less mucous.
- Zyrtec, Claritin, Allegra or Xyzal – these 24 hour, non-drowsy medications are helpful for your child to take in the morning. It may keep them from being so sneezy, sniffly and itchy. It should not make them drowsy during the day.
- Combining Benadryl with one of the other medications is okay.
- “Nose Sprays”
- Saline Spray – this is helpful to rinse the nose and remove the dirt and pollen which may have gotten in their nose when they’re outside. Also, it may help with a dry or irritated nose. There isn’t medicine in this, so it can be used as often as they feel is helpful for them.
- Flonase Sensimist / Nasal Steroid – this helps to reduce the inflammation and irritation which is happening in the nose. It is helpful for drainage, congestion, and popping or fullness in the ears. When using this, do not have your child push it far into the nose, or sniff hard. A light sniff, right at the edge of the nose is best. It can be more successful if you let your child practice using this device independently or with a little guidance.
If these measures alone are not sufficient in controlling your child’s allergies, it might be time to speak to an Allergist. Your Allergist may need to perform testing to find out what it is that your child is allergic to. Your allergist may provide prescription medications to help your child control their allergy symptoms.
Other indications for seeing an Allergist might be if your child suffers with recurrent sinus infections or ear infections, hives, asthma, eczema or has food allergies.
KS Pediatrics offers an Allergy Specialist who treats children and adults with allergies. If you think seeing a specialist is right for you or your child, please reach out to us. The allergy appointment will take place within a week, using telemedicine. There is no referral required.