How to identify and manage winter allergies in children – ADC Video

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , /

Cedar turns out to be a really mean allergen. It tends to cause a lot of reactivity even in people who typically don’t have allergies. Generally in kids, we tend to see seasonal allergies around the second year of life. With most allergies you have to have a sensitizing phase. In other words, the first time your body sees an allergen is when it develops a response. Then the next season when you see it is when you get most of your symptoms. What makes it difficult is cedar is hitting right at the same time as cold and flu. It can be really difficult to tease out what is driving symptoms. The nose reacts similarly to all kinds of things it does not like. Colds cause runny nose, congestion, sneezing. The same with cedar. It will cause runny nose, congestion, sneezing. Parents should come to us whenever they suspect a seasonal allergen. A constant running nose. Sometimes kids will have a crease on top of their nose from constantly wipe their nose. We call it the allergic salute. The dark circles under the eyes we call allergic shiners. Whenever you are seeing those sorts of things, recurring ear infections, sinus infections, they could be signs of allergies. What we do for allergy testing is we scratch the skin. We use extracts of the same material that you would be allergic to. If you get a little bump that looks like a mosquito bite, then we know you are allergic to that. It is not like drawing blood, but it is a little uncomfortable because you are scratching the skin. The worst part of allergy testing is not being able to scratch the itchy spot on your back or arm. We look at that to see what things you are allergic to, what you are not allergic to. And then, we talk about what strategies to avoid or treat the allergy. With all antihistamines, if you look on the back you will see they are not generally recommended for kids under age 5 or 6. That is because it can be difficult to tease out what is allergy and what is a cold. If you are giving antihistamines for a cold, it is not going to be helpful. And if you are not dosing correctly it could be potentially harmful. That is why, in general, under the age of 6 we need to check with a physician. If it is allergy and you have the green light from a physicians, most over-the-counter antihistamines are very safe They are effective at really getting rid of the itchy and sneezy symptoms. The most effective medicines by far for nasal symptoms are nasal steroid sprays which do an excellent job of getting rid of symptoms. Those are available by prescription. []

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