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Published on April 16, 2012

Allergies

Allergies Acting Up?

Sniffling, sneezing and feeling just plain awful this spring? It could be your allergies acting up. Some allergens are present year-round, but most pollen is in greater concentration and reaches peak levels during the spring. Springtime brings plant and pollen allergies. Trees pollinate first and grasses start in late spring and early summer. Some allergies, such as dust, mold and pets, are present year-round.

Who Can Get Allergies?

While some allergies are hereditary, others can develop without a family history. Allergies are connected to asthma and eczema, so having one of those conditions in the family will make a child more likely to suffer from allergies. However, some people are just unlucky and develop them without a family history.

Symptoms Of Spring Allergies:

  • Runny nose or stuffy nose
  • Watery or red eyes
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Itchy eyes, nose, roof of mouth or throat
  • Sneezing

Treatment For Spring Allergies:

  • Antihistamines: Reduces sneezing, sniffling, and itching by lowering the amount of histamine in the body
  • Decongestants: Clears mucus out of the nasal passageways to relieve congestion and swelling
  • Antihistamine/decongestants: Combines the effects of both drugs
  • Nasal spray decongestants: Relieves congestion and clears clogged nasal passages
  • Cromolyn sodium nasal spray: Helps prevent hay fever by stopping the release of histamine before it can trigger allergy symptoms
  • Eye drops: Relieves itchy, watery eyes

Over-the-counter antihistamines are generally safe. The non-sedating ones (such as Claritin and Zyrtec) are safe for children and do come in liquid or dissolvable pill forms. However, make sure you check with your own pediatrician on what doses are correct for your child’s age and weight.

How To Avoid Allergy Triggers

  • Avoid the allergy as much as possible.
  • Keep windows closed, especially on windy days or days with high pollen count. You can get a pollen count update on websites like www.aaai.org.
  • Some people find nasal saline rinses helpful, as well as nasal saline sprays for congestion and irritation.
  • There are many prescription medication options, such as nasal sprays or Singulair. If your child does not get relief from the over-the-counter medications, see your doctor to see what other options are available.

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