Open Accessibility Menu

Kids & Allergies | Infirmary Pediatrics

  • Category: Education
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Amanda Akey

By Debra E. Gardner, M.D., F.A.A.P

Is your child suffering from an itchy, runny nose, watery, itchy eyes, sneezing, itchy throat or ear, and/or nasal congestion? What about postnasal drip, cough, or sinus headaches? Well, if they are, they may have allergies. This time of the year is well known to be high in spring allergens, specifically pollen to things such as grasses, weeds, and trees. There are also allergens in the fall (i.e. ragweed and molds), as well as perennial or year-round indoor allergens (i.e. pets, dust, and cockroach). Allergies can start at any time and as early as six months of age but usually occur in children over the age of two. To determine if your child has allergies, there are three types of testing that can be performed: skin prick tests, specific blood tests, and non-specific blood tests.

Allergens when inhaled by the nose cause the body to recognize the allergen as foreign, which causes the body to produce and release chemicals, histamine, and leukotriene to combat the allergen. This histamine and leukotriene release causes the symptoms that we see. Hence, we try to provide relief from these allergens with short and long-acting anti-histamines. Many of these medicines are available over the counter. We encourage you to read the packaging carefully and consult your pediatrician about age limits, appropriate dosages, and any reactions. Occasionally, long-term use of one or more of these can lead to a tolerance where the medication does not seem to bring relief of symptoms anymore, prompting a change to a different antihistamine.

These antihistamines do not seem to help much with nasal congestion, which may lead to adding decongestants like phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine (i.e. Sudafed, Mucinex D) to the regime. These are not approved for children under 6 years of age. Nasal sprays can also combat the congestion problem without the risks and side effects of the decongestants. These contain steroids that help with inflammation. However, proper use of these nasal sprays is required to reap the benefits and avoid the risks. Please consult your pediatrician on the appropriate products, proper use, and technique.

If allergies are not treated, they can lead to complications such as ear and sinus infections, enlarged adenoids or tonsils, mouth breathing, snoring, sleep apnea, and attention/learning problems. While it can be cumbersome to take pills and spray nostrils every day, complications may occur if children are non-compliant with recommended regimens.

You can take practical steps to limit your child's exposure to allergens and fight off reactions.

  • Changing clothes, washing hands and face after being outside
  • Wiping off hair after being outside.
  • Eating healthy and exercising
  • Taking daily multivitamins with extra vitamin c.
  • Adding a teaspoon of local honey to your child’s diet.
  • Remove old carpet.
  • Use mattress and pillow covers.
  • Consider a HEPA air purifier for your child’s room or the house.
  • Frequently vacuum and dust.

Your pediatrician is here to help provide relief to your child’s allergies so that they can get back to being a kid! Schedule a check-up with Infirmary Pediatrics today by calling (251) 435-KIDS (5437).

Like us on Facebook for the latest updates!