The sneezing, stuffy nose, itchy eyes, scratchy throats and cough, which are all symptoms of allergic rhinitis, start up as the pollens blows in and stirs up ragweed, the most common Fall allergen.
This may be a rough allergy season due to an early Spring, a very hot Summer and the drought which set us up for a prolonged Fall allergy season.
"Allergic symptoms are brought on when the body releases histamines, after being exposed to the allergen such as ragweed," explains Pediatrician Dr. Karen McClard. "Children typically begin showing symptoms of allergens around the ages of 3 or 4. If a parent has allergic rhinitis there is a 40-50% chance that their children may develop allergies as well."
The most common physical findings are watery eyes, a clear runny nose, and cough which is often worse in the morning. Some children may wheeze with allergies.
The best treatment is prevention!
Close the windows to eliminate pollens in the house. Bath your child when they come in from playing to remove pollens from their hair and body. Try using an over the counter antihistamine such as Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra or Benadryl as needed.
If allergy symptoms continue to worsen talk to your doctor. It might be time to try a daily nasal steroid spray which helps block the allergic response.
For children who continue to have problems a visit to the pediatric allergist for skin prick testing may be next.
I'm Dr. Sue with The Kid's Doctor, helping parents take charge.
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