Seasonal Allergies in Children

April 17, 2017

Springtime in Charlotte equals beautiful trees budding everywhere, flowers beginning to open up, grass greening, children outdoors playing and beginning their outdoor sports.  With that can come itchy, red eyes and nasal dripping, and perhaps coughing, even attacks of wheezing and shortness of breath or worsening of asthma in children with that condition.  This is not a problem unique to Charlotte Pediatricians.  Up to 40% of all children suffer with allergic rhinitis, another word for allergic runny nose.  A visit to your pediatrician will help you to determine if your infant or child may have seasonal allergies.

Seasonal allergies commonly begin during the toddler and early childhood periods, usually after age two because children develop environmental allergies as they are exposed to those allergens over a period of time.    Your child’s doctor will tell you that seasonal allergies due to pollen are unlikely before age two and if your infant is having a runny nose, it is not likely due to the change of seasons.

What are some of the signs of seasonal allergy?  Runny nose and nasal stuffiness, throat clearing (due to itching of the throat), nose rubbing, sniffling, snorting, sneezing (all related to itching of the nose and throat), and itchy watery, red eyes.  These symptoms usually will become progressively worse year after year and it is that pattern of recurrence at the same time each year that is part of the picture that alerts your pediatrician to the diagnosis of seasonal allergies.  Itchiness is the common denominator and can extend to the skin as well.  For children with Asthma or a history of wheezing, this can be severely worsened during periods of high pollen.

There are several risk factors for having seasonal allergies including a family history, being born during the spring when pollen counts are high, being the firstborn child, and being male.  These are factors out of your control.  Here are the things you can control:
Keep the windows down on those warm spring days and run the air conditioner instead.  This reduces the pollen inside your home which lands on your infant or toddler’s bedding and all other objects in your home.
Eliminate all exposure to second hand smoke.
Avoid pressuring your baby’s doctor to give your infant antibiotics for viral illnesses since that won’t help and that practice can increase the risk of allergies.
Charlotte Pediatricians always want children to remain active in their outdoor sports, but be mindful of high pollen days and more alert to symptoms occurring at those times and insist on a daily bath for your active child to wash all pollen from their skin and hair

Your Charlotte doctor is the best guide to advise you on the appropriate treatments of the many over the counter and prescription anti-allergy therapies available.  Also your pediatrician can tell you if further testing is warranted either in their office or with an asthma and allergy specialist for children.  Don’t try to treat your child alone.  Children tend to suffer longer than adults and can’t always tell you how much, so seek the services of your child’s doctor as soon as you see the signs for the best results.

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