Posts for: May, 2014

Are you or your child plagued with itchy eyes, runny nose or constant sneezing? Your nose (the only part of your child’s lungs that they can reach with their finger) certainly knows it's that time of year again!  Seasonal allergies usually begin in the early springtime and are caused initially by exposure to tree pollen; changing to grasses by late spring/early summer; and finally weeds by late summer/early fall, including ragweed a common cause of “Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis".  Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis is often referred to as "Hay Fever" although that name is actually a misnomer because allergies typically do not cause a fever and are rarely associated with hay!

Allergic symptoms actually begin in the immune system.  When an allergy causing substance, otherwise known as an "allergen", enters your body, your immune system recognizes it as a foreign visitor and tries to eliminate it, just as it would an infection causing virus or bacterial germ. The reaction caused by the immune system results in the release of histamines and other inflammatory chemicals in your body, which can make you feel miserable! Children suffering from seasonal allergies can have various symptoms, including itchy, swollen eyes with a watery discharge.  When the nose is involved there will be congestion, sneezing, and a watery nasal discharge which often give rise to the “allergic salute” as kids wipe their noses with the back of their hands or forearms. Allergies may cause children with preexisting Asthma to develop a flare of their lower respiratory symptoms producing cough, wheezing, and shortness of breath. 

Most allergy symptoms can be managed with the use of simple measures, including medications.  Antihistamines are the most commonly used medications for the treatment of allergy symptoms and can be found over-the-counter (OTC) in both brand name and generic forms.  There are several different brands of OTC antihistamines (e.g. Benadryl, Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra) which differ based on recommended dosing guidelines and potential side effects e.g. drowsiness. Of course, the generic versions also work well and are considerably cheaper. In addition to oral antihistamines, there are also eye drops and nose sprays that can be added to the regimen to help with ocular and nasal symptoms that persist despite the use of antihistamines. Infrequently, a consultation with an Allergist is necessary.

What’s the bottom line? If your child is having bothersome symptoms due to suspected or known allergies we can help. Please come visit us so that we can help you decide which regimen is best for your child! For further information on the subject of Allergies, we also recommend that you visit the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology at www.aaaai.org

p.s. Stay tuned for future educational blogs-next up Sun Safety-and please don’t forget to visit our website regularly at www.lockmanlubellpeds.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.