If your child is constantly sneezing or coughing, he or she may be suffering from allergies. Unfortunately, allergies affect up to 50 million people throughout the United States. Identifying your child’s allergies early can help you find a treatment that works and keep your child from feeling miserable during peak allergy season. Learning what causes allergies can help you start a treatment plan for your child.
What Causes Allergies In Children?
During spring and fall, there are a number of things that can trigger your child’s allergies. Tree pollen and plant pollen are two of the main suspects during these two seasons. Some indoor triggers include pet or animal hair, dust mites and mold. In addition to nature’s seasonal triggers, perfume, cigarette smoke and car exhaust can also cause your child’s allergies to flare up year-round.
What Are The Symptoms Of Seasonal Allergies?
If your child is suffering from hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, he or she will likely have a runny nose, constantly be sneezing, and experience postnasal drip and nasal congestion. Coincidentally enough, hay fever is not actually triggered by hay.
Typically, allergies are the number one reason behind chronic nasal congestion in children. This can result in your child being forced to breathe through their mouth at night, leaving them exhausted the next day.
How Can You Alleviate Children’s Allergy Symptoms?
If your child is suffering from allergies, it can be a helpless feeling. However, by following a few simple tips and tricks, you can at least help alleviate the symptoms of allergies and have your child feeling like him or herself in no time.
Stay Indoors: To help alleviate your child’s allergy symptoms, it is often best to just avoid them completely. On days when pollen counts are high, encourage your child to stay inside. Also, be sure to keep windows and doors. If your child is required to be outdoors for an extended amount of time, consider getting a respirator mask (these can be bought at most drug stores) to block the majority of small particles.
Eat Healthy: Your child’s diet plays a large part in their allergies. Try to include one fresh fruit and veggie at every meal. It can also be helpful to incorporate spicy foods, such as onions or garlic, into your child’s diet to help thin mucus and clear nasal passages.
Alleviate Pain: Often when your child is suffering from allergies, he or she will experience sinus pressure and pain. Try applying a warm compress, such as a warm washcloth, to his or her face to help soothe the pain. A warm shower or bath with plenty of steam can also work wonders for symptom relief. If itchy eyes are bothering your child most, consider a cold compress, which can help reduce itchiness and soreness.
Educate Your Child: Make sure your child knows that rubbing his or her eyes will only irritate them, making them more itchy. Encourage your child to refrain from rubbing itchy eyes as much as possible.
Get A Humidifier: Keeping the air in your house moist can help make breathing easier for your child if he or she is suffering from allergy symptoms. However, make sure the air in your home isn’t too moist, as humidity over 40% can actually allow indoor allergens such as mold and dust mites to grow.
Try A Saline Solution: Nasal irrigation with a saline solution can offer some much-needed relief for older children. Saline solution can be purchased at your local drugstore or you can make it yourself using 8 ounces of boiled water and 1 teaspoon of non-iodized salt.
Keep Everything Clean: If your child has been playing outdoors, make sure they take a bath that night to remove all allergens. All clothes that were worn outside should be thrown right into a hamper. Also, make sure your home is clean. Dust and other particles in your home can trigger your child’s allergy symptoms, making it impossible for them to recover.
Do You Need To See A Doctor For Allergies?
Many times, allergies are easy to identify. However, in some cases, they are less obvious since symptoms can be easily confused with other conditions. If your child is experiencing symptoms similar to a cold, which last more than a week, you may want to see a doctor. Also, if your child experiences these symptoms at the same time every year, there’s a good chance they are allergies.
How Are Seasonal Allergies Diagnosed?
If you decide to seek medical care for your child’s allergies, a doctor will typically do one of two tests to determine the cause of the allergies. A blood test is normally recommended for children with skin conditions, those with a strong sensitivity to certain allergens and those on certain medications.
If the doctor wants to do a skin test, he or she will place a drop of the allergen (in a purified liquid form) on or under your child’s skin. If a lump arises, your child has tested positive for that specific allergen.
Should Your Child Stay Go To School With Allergies?
Each year, allergies cause an estimated 2 million missed school days. However, allergies are not contagious, so there is no risk in your child going to school. If your child is experiencing symptoms so extreme you believe his or her concentration in the classroom will be affected, it may be a good idea to keep them home for the day.
Is Your Child At Risk Of Allergies?
There is really no rhyme or reason to why some people suffer from allergies and others don’t. Allergies can be hereditary, so some children are simply predisposed. However, just because one (or both) parents have allergies, doesn’t mean the child will definitely get them. The best way to know if your child is at risk is to simply keep a close eye on symptoms and communicate with your child about how he or she is feeling.
If your child is suffering with allergies, Medical City Children’s Urgent Care has convenient access to the expert care you need, and our pediatricians are board-eligible in pediatric medicine. We are even open after hours or on the weekend to help your child feel better.
Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you or your child.