Helping Kids with Allergies and Asthma

As spring unfolds, the season can bring extra trips to the pediatrician’s office as children struggle with allergies and asthma. Sniffles and sneezes are pretty common this time of the year. In fact, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation recently named Memphis the 8th worst city in the U.S. for allergy sufferers.

We spoke with pediatrician Melissa Adams with PedsEast to get the 411 on how best to deal with allergy season.

What do allergy symptoms look like?
-       constantly runny nose (mucus will be thin and clear, not thick and ropy)
-       congestion
-       itchy, watery eyes
-       no fever
-       symptoms that last for more than 1 week

What do asthma symptoms look like?
-       Wheezing, difficulty breathing, especially after exercising
-       watery eyes
-       coughing
-       runny nose
-       tendency to constantly rub the tip of nose
-       shortness of breath

What are the triggers for these problems?
Allergies can be caused by pollen, furry animals such as cats, dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits, latex, certain foods. Asthma can be caused by pollen, dust mites, dander, mold, cockroach droppings, and cigarette smoke.

When do children begin showing signs of having allergies or asthma?
Children can begin exhibiting symptoms starting at 18 months.

When should I bring my child to the doctor?
If symptoms persist beyond a week, your child probably has allergies and not a cold. Have your child seen to be sure. If warranted, your pediatrician may recommend an ear, nose, and throat doctor. Watch to see when your child’s symptoms start and stop, since these symptoms can be seasonal.

Best over the counter relief: Antihistamines such as Claratin, Zyrtec, and Allegra are once-a-day medications that will help bring relief for allergies, and won’t cause drowsiness. Albuterol is a good breathing medication for children with asthma. Doctors also recommend saline nose sprays to help keep breathing passages clear. And a teaspoon or two of local raw honey each day can help, since the pollens it contains act as an antedote.

Dosing: Children over 6 months of age can take allergy medications, but be sure to follow dosing recommendations closely.

The Good News: Children who suffer with allergies or asthma may outgrow it by their teen years.

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