|In the waiting room...April Showers|
|Friday, May 03, 2013 8:34 AM|
If it is true that April showers bring May flowers, then we are in for a doozy of an allergy season. Judging by the number of kids I have been seeing already this allergy season, I would say it is time for parents to be prepared.
Allergies have a way of turning a beautiful sunny day into a miserable afternoon and a happy adventurer into a cranky homebody. Seasonal allergies can affect your child’s sleeping patterns, eating patterns and their personalities.
Fortunately, the treatment of allergies has come a long way since I was a kid (what hasn’t, once they invented that wheel, things have just been humming along). I remember that my sister used to hate summer because it brought the beginning of hayfever season. The only allergy medicine available was Benadryl and your only option was to be drowsy all the time or live with being congested. She spent the whole summer with a cold washcloth over her nose because it helped her breath easier.
Things are much better now. Now you just have to know what symptoms you are trying to relieve and whether they are truly caused by an allergy. The most common symptoms to watch for are congestion, runny nose, cough and sneezing. A fever is not typical of allergy symptoms and should be evaluated by your doctor if it persists for longer than 48 hours or if the child seems ill or is refusing to eat. Pink, watery eyes can also occur with allergies, but you should see a doctor to rule out bacterial conjunctivitis before assuming that the symptoms are just allergy related. Pain is not generally an allergy symptom, although early morning sore throats, fullness or throbbing over the forehead and around the eyes, or mild nausea may be part of allergies. If the pain is severe or very persistent it could indicate something other than allergies.
Once you are sure that you are probably dealing with allergy symptoms, there are many over-the-counter medications (such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra) that are very successful at treating common allergy symptoms and can be used safely for kids who are over the age of 6 years old. Children who are under 6 years of age who don’t seem to respond to these medications or who seem to be getting worse may need to see their doctor for additional tests or medications.
There are also non-medicinal ways to help your child with allergies. It helps to use saline drops or nasal rinses to help clear the nasal passages, cool compresses are often very soothing for itchy dry eyes and a moist air humidifier prevents drying of the nasal passages. It is also very important to eat a well rounded diet, take a vitamin supplement that includes vitamin C, B complexes, and Omega-3, and drink plenty of water. Hopefully, these recommendations can help your child stop and smell the flowers this summer, and not come home sneezing the blues.
Dr. Celeste Lopez graduated cum laude from The University of Utah College of Medicine. She completed her Pediatric residency training at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan. She is certified with The American Board of Pediatrics since 1992. In 2003 she moved her practice, Wishing Well Pediatrics, to Delphos and is located at 154 W. Third Street. She is the proud mother of a 13-year-old son.