A Pediatrician's Advice On Controlling Your Child's Allergies
THE GREEN DUST COATING HAS BEGUN
The time has come. You and your kids spent time at the park on a beautiful spring afternoon. A few hours later, at home, the symptoms start (cue M. Night Shyamalan strange horror music). Or heck, for those really allergic, the symptoms began at the park!
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Draining, watery, itchy nose
- Itchy roof of mouth (is this just me? Seriously? Anyone else get this?)
- Clearing the throat
- Complaining of a sore throat (this is due to drainage)
Congrats. See that bright green dust coating your trash cans and car? That’s pollen, and it’s now stuck to all the tiny hairs inside your nose, throat, and lung airways.
And the symptoms you’re having? That’s your body reacting to the certain pollens it doesn’t like.
Kids don’t really get seasonal (grass, plant and tree) allergies until at least age 2. I always tell parents, “your kiddo has to be EXPOSED to the planet’s seasons a few times before it can become allergic to them!”
Your child can become allergic to things like foods, pets, mold, and dust earlier than age 2 – because these are things they are exposed to daily in their home.
To help control your kid’s symptoms, there are a lot of over-the-counter medications you can try.
Listen – I’m a doc that usually says “less is more” when it comes to medication. But I do usually recommend daily meds for kids who suffer allergies, because I don’t want it to affect their happiness, or ability to get good exercise.
Start with a daily antihistamine – Allegra, Claritin, Xyzal, Zyrtec, Benadryl. If your child suffers from a lot of nasal problems like sneezing and congestion, add on a nasal steroid spray like Flonase or Nasacort.
There are also many types of antihistamine eye drops out there you can use daily to treat or prevent the itchy and watery eyes.
Here’s the thing – they’re often PREVENTATIVE. So, use them DAILY during the times of year you or your child suffer to PREVENT the symptoms from showing up.
You can dive further into treatment with your pediatrician – there are a few prescription options you can try to further help the problem.
If your child has asthma, it’s even more important to come up with a treatment plan with your pediatrician. These kids sometimes can have full-on asthma attacks this time of year if that’s a common trigger for them.
And do what an old, wise allergist once told me – “the minute you and your kids come in from playing outside, hold your heads over the sink, and spray nasal saline up in the nose to irrigate the nose and rinse out all the pollen!” You could also try this in the shower.
Makes sense to me! Try it! And good luck out there!
Get to know Diane Arnaout, M.D.
"Dr. Diane Arnaout is a pediatrician at the Cook Children's Forest Park practice. If you would like to see her at Forest Park, call 817-336-3800 or click here for an appointment. Dr. Diane has been a Cook Children’s physician since 2011.
She got her undergraduate degree at Texas A&M University, went to medical school at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio, and completed her pediatric residency in the Texas Medical Center at UT Health Science Center in Houston.
She is board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. She has two small kids, whom she credits as being her toughest (and best) teachers. She loves being a pediatrician and loves to teach parents all about their childrens’ health daily, both in-person and online.”