Allergy season is really upon us and after interviewing a pediatric allergist on our show I realize how prevalent seasonal allergies are, and how they definitely do run in families. If both parents have seasonal allergies there is a greater than 50% chance that their children will also be affected. So, ask your prospective mate not only the all important questions regarding family, finances and children, but ask about their history of allergies and asthma. Who would have known this 10 years ago? We are definitely seeing more children with asthma and allergies and most have a significant family history.
At the same time, the allergist emphasized that most toddlers, especially those in daycare or preschool, who have had intermittent “green snotty noses”, cough, and low-grade fevers probably are not dealing with allergies but rather recurrent upper respiratory infections, due to viruses. I often overhear young mothers as they drop off their children in the church nursery classes say, “he is not really sick he just has allergies”, knowing that their precious child really has yet another cold. There is nothing wrong with having six colds a winter, we have talked about that before, and colds should not keep you from going to preschool, gymnastics, church, or music class. But the reality is those “allergies” are really cold viruses and so technically are contagious, and so it goes in the toddler set everyone shares the germs.
The best treatment if you suspect your child has occasional allergies is to use an over the counter antihistamine to combat the watery, itchy eyes, and constant drippy nose. It will also help the sneezing and scratchy throat symptoms. If your child is having persistent seasonal allergy symptoms, usually due to trees and grasses during the spring, the best medication may be preventative in the form of a prescription nasal steroid spray used daily. This daily spray in conjunction with an antihistamine on especially bad days proves to be the best way to treat seasonal allergies. The only problem is convincing your child, or ‘tween or teen to use a daily nose spray. In my experience it is right up there with trying to get them to take out the trash. Why does something so simple prove to be so hard?
That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again tomorrow.