08
January
2020
|
10:56 PM
America/Chicago

It’s (Always) Allergy Season in Texas. Here’s What Parent Needs to Know.

Right now, your child’s sneezing and watery eyes are most likely from mountain cedar or ragweed in Texas. But wait a little bit, and your child’s allergies will be for another reason.

Ankita Singh, D.O., a pediatrician at Cook Children’s Walsh Ranch office, said about 40% of children have allergy-related illnesses in the U.S.

But in Texas, allergies run year-round for all kinds of reasons. The most common allergies seen by Dr. Singh include outdoor pollen, pet dander, and food allergies (peanuts, milk, shellfish, eggs, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and crustacean shellfish).

“Although allergies to milk, eggs, wheat, and soy can resolve themselves in childhood, children appear to be outgrowing some of these allergies more slowly than in previous decades, with many children still beyond 5,” Dr. Singh said. “Unfortunately, true allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish are usually lifelong.”

Your child’s allergies can commonly cause itchy watery eyes, chronic congestion, breathing concerns, tiredness, itchy rashes, and sometimes vomiting or diarrhea with a feeling of discomfort.

Dr. Singh said you could have allergies and a cold at the same time, but there are ways to tell the two apart.

“A cold manifests with fever, congestion, cough that can resolve itself with over the counter fever reducers, hydration and time,” Dr. Singh said. “Allergies usually come and go and sometimes persist with a chronic dry cough, watery eyes, and itchy dry skin. Allergies flare up with seasonal changes or when a child is exposed to a certain allergen”

If your child is currently suffering from allergies, Dr. Singh advises parents to try over-the-counter medicines like Zyrtec, Allegra or Xyzal, which can be given beginning at age 6 months if needed. Claritin is approved after age 2. Trying them nightly for 2 weeks can sometimes help you assess if symptoms are improving or not. A teaspoon to tablespoon of honey is also great to take daily to help control seasonal allergies. Running a cool mist humidifier or air purifier helps as well.

“Mast cell stabilizers can be prescribed at times. Nasal corticosteroids like Flonase is safe for kids after the age of 2 and helps if taken daily for months for prevention,” Dr. Singh said. “Many parents use Benadryl, but it makes a lot of kids very groggy, so only reserve it for night time or if kids need it for severe itching. It is not my go to for allergies, more so for allergic reactions or hive like rashes.”

Dr. Singh said call your pediatrician if you notice any of the following:

  • Chronic watery eyes or stuffy nose
  • Itchy skin
  • Dry, persistent cough for weeks
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rash turning into raised bumps that’s not improving with over-the-counter allergy meds

Avoidance of allergens is most important to help kids with allergies, especially for kids who have asthma and/or eczema.

“Make sure to get rid of carpets in your home if you can. If not, vacuuming often and having carpets deep cleaned every 6 months is beneficial” Dr. Singh said. “Some kids might need medications to control their asthma and allergies at the same time. It’s important to have them seen by a doctor to discuss further treatment options if this is the case. Avoiding allergens, taking a shower after playing outdoors, and keeping clothes, bedding and flooring clean are key to minimizing symptoms.”

In more severe cases, epinephrine is vital for kids who have a diagnosed allergens and are undergoing anaphylaxis. This presents as a severe skin reaction, lip/tongue/throat swelling, shortness of breath or wheezing, dizziness, stomach aches or vomiting, and/or diarrhea. If a child does undergo these symptoms, it is important to know the cause and if not to get allergy tested to avoid the trigger in the future.

Other medication options as discussed above include:

  • Antihistamines or nasal corticosteroids
  • Topical steroid creams/ointments
  • Immunotherapy in the form of injections to train your immune system not to overreact

“You might ‘Ah-choose’ to stay indoors, but don’t let allergies take over your life,” Dr. Singh said. “You can overcome them with the above and if not, you can always come talk to me!

For more on this topic:

Get to know Ankita Singh, D.O.

I was born in India, brought up in Arlington, Texas and enjoyed the simplicity and adventures of being a kid: rollerblading, biking, playing basketball, practicing the violin, dancing and more in the neighborhood and in Arlington schools. I loved my public schooling and progressed to Austin College in Sherman, Texas where I had a wonderful education that prepared me for medical school in Fort Worth at UNTHSC Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. I was fortunate to be a medical scribe a year before my entrance and became close to the amazing Cook Children's Emergency docs who I still talk to and now coming full circle will interact with much more. I had wanted to be a pediatrician since 7th grade and here was my chance. Due to this large hospital training, I was able to learn extensively about ill children and I also had skillful training in outpatient clinics that supported the under-served communities. To learn more about Dr. Singh, click here. To make an appointment click here.