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As adults, we learn to deal with our seasonal allergies. But what if the allergy sufferer is a child? How do we help relieve their symptoms?
With allergies, prevention is the first line of defense. Here are some suggestions:
•Keep windows closed throughout the house, but especially in the child’s bedroom.
•Use the air conditioner instead.
•Keep your child inside between 5-10 a.m. when pollen counts are high.
•Encourage outdoor play on cloudy, windless days when pollen counts are lower.
•Have your child shower and change clothes before bed.
•Keep car windows closed and the air conditioner on when you drive.
Most children’s allergy symptoms can be controlled by reducing exposure and using over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Take your child to a doctor if symptoms are not relieved with OTC medicines.
These days there are five types of drugs available for allergies unlike when I was a child and I just had to suffer. When purchasing OTC medicines, read labels carefully to make sure the product is age appropriate for your child. A label that says “intended for children” does not mean it is for use for all ages.
These block the effects of histamine, a chemical released during allergic reactions. OTC antihistamines are available in liquid and pill form but can have side effects in children, such as sleepiness or hyperactivity.
These are available by prescription and block leukotrienes which are chemicals released during inflammation.
This nasal spray is another OTC option that can help control nasal allergy symptoms.
Nasal steroid sprays
These nasal sprays are prescription only and help relieve nasal congestion and sneezing.
Topical eye medications
These prescription medications are useful for itchy, runny eyes.
Children who don't respond to either OTC or prescription medications may be candidates for allergy shots. About 80 percent of people with allergies will see their symptoms and need for medicine drop significantly within a year of starting shots, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
You also can help your child feel better if you help them adopt strategies that will lower their overall inflammation.
Detecting hidden food allergies may help lower their inflammation. Delayed food allergies have been identified as a leading contributor to making environmental allergy symptoms worse. Delayed food allergies are difficult to pinpoint because symptoms may not appear for up to 72 hours after an offending food is consumed.
Other ways to reduce inflammation include taking care of yourself, practicing good nutrition, exercising, reducing stress and getting adequate sleep.
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