Please note that the advice in this posting is intended for children OVER AGE TWO. For children under two, it is important that you speak directly with your pediatrician.
The most common symptoms of seasonal allergies include a runny nose, sneezing, nasal itching, nasal drainage, a post-nasal drip, a persistent night time cough, eye itching, eye shiners and eye redness. These symptoms can also cause your child to have a headache and fatigue.
Seasonal allergies can be pretty uncomfortable for your child. So what do we recommend? We really advise that you take TWO simultaneous approaches - one that reduces the allergen that is affecting your child, and the second that treats your child's immune response...
FIRST – try and remove the irritants. When you remove the agents causing the allergy, you help reduce your child's inflammatory response. Wash your child’s hands and face and change their clothes when they come in from outside. Sleeping with windows open, as refreshing as it might be, actually allows the irritants to come inside and cause more of an allergic response. Nasal rinses like Simply Saline help remove the irritants from the nasal passages.
SECOND – For MODERATE to SEVERE symptoms that are mostly nasal and / or respiratory, we recommend TWO THINGS:
1. A long-acting, non-drowsy antihistamine. Examples include Children’s Zyrtec OR Children’s Allegra OR Children’s Xyzal. Different children respond better to one over the other, so you might need to try more than one (NOT at the same time) before you find the best for your child’s symptoms.
2. A topical treatment to reduce the inflammation in the nasal passages. You can try Children’s Flonase OR Children’s Nasacort.
For moderate to severe symptoms, it usually takes BOTH the antihistamine AND the nasal topical treatment to alleviate symptoms. For mild symptoms, you can try just the nasal rinses and nasal topical and see if they alleviate symptoms, without the use of the antihistamine. We recommend using treatments for two to four weeks at a time.
FOR EYE SYMPTOMS:
If your child’s eyes are red, swollen and itchy and the antihistamine and nasal topical aren’t helping, MOST over the counter eye drops will not be helpful. Firstly, remember to remove the irritants… rinse your child’s eyes in clean tap water, and wipe with a clean towel. It usually takes a prescription eye drop to alleviate these symptoms, but these drops can be quite expensive. One over-the-counter drop we have found to be helpful is ZADITOR.
WHEN TO SEE AN ALLERGIST
If your child’s symptoms are severe and cannot be controlled with over-the-counter medications OR If symptoms are year-round vs. for a few weeks at a time, your child might be a candidate for allergy shots or immune therapy. Please speak with your pediatrician so they can assess your child’s symptoms and determine whether an allergist can help.
Seasonal allergies can be really miserable for your child. If you cannot control their symptoms, please let us know, and we will work to find ways to help keep them comfortable. We are always only one call away.