Every parent knows that dealing with their kids' allergies can be unpredictable when the seasons start to change. Between shifts in temperature and indoor to outdoor activities, you just never know when your kids' next allergy flare-up could happen. To make things worse, not knowing how to spot a child’s allergy symptoms can cause worry, and before you know it, a relaxing outing is now a sneezing, wheezing, watery-eyed event!
This article is here to help you We'll break down the ways you can identify kids' seasonal allergies symptoms and how to tell them apart from cold and flu symptoms. We'll also examine some children's allergy medicines and explain how to take them safely. avoid that.
We'll break down the ways you can identify kids' seasonal allergies symptoms and how to tell them apart from cold and flu symptoms. We'll also examine some children's allergy medicines and explain how to take them safely.
So, take a few minutes to learn about kid allergies and the over-the-counter (OTC) products that can help you handle the next allergy episode
Identifying Seasonal Allergies
Before looking at common allergy symptoms in children, it's good to know what causes them. You can't protect kids from everything, but if you know there's a higher chance, they'll be exposed to something that may cause allergies, you can be proactive in having OTC children's allergy relief on hand.
Here are some typical causes of kid allergies:
- Dust mites: These tiny insects feed on dead human skin cells, are too small to see, and you can find them everywhere.
- Plants and pollen: Pollen from trees, flowers, and plants is what most people associate with allergies. They are one of the most common causes of children's seasonal allergies and are highest in concentration around spring.
- Mold: Exposure to fungi and other mold is another risk for kids who might be allergic, especially in damp places like basements during spring and summer.
- Animals and insects: Hair, fur, feathers, and dust particles from animals can cause children's allergy symptoms. During a spring hike or summer barbecue, watch out for bees, ticks, spiders, and ants as their bites and stings can also trigger reaction.
But knowing the cause is only half the battle. Since you can't completely prevent children from being exposed to allergens, correctly identifying children's seasonal allergies is the best way to get your kids allergy relief quickly.
Here are the symptoms of childhood seasonal allergies to watch out for:
- Itchy skin
- Watery eyes
- Red or dry skin
- Shortness of breath
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Hives or itchy welts
If your little one is showing any of these symptoms, they might be having a reaction and need children's allergy relief medicine.
But how can you be sure?
As parents, you're intimately familiar with coughs, sneezes, and sore throats. So, how can you tell if a runny nose is from a seasonal allergy or a cold?
Allergies vs. Cold vs. Flu
A few things to look out for may help you figure out whether to give your kids allergy medicine or cold and flu medication.
If your child has a fever, the problem likely isn't an allergy. A fever is usually a sign of the flu. As a rule of thumb, flu symptoms are more severe than colds, and almost always include a fever.
Pain and fatigue
You can tell allergies apart from cold and flu symptoms by finding out if kids have pain or general feelings of tiredness. While irritation and itchiness could indicate an allergy, headaches, body aches, chest discomfort, and persistent lack of energy are likely signs of cold or flu.
How long does it last?
Another clue is noting how quickly symptoms start and how long they last. While signs of a cold or flu develop slowly, allergies show up quickly. Sudden sneezing or watery eyes is a good sign you're dealing with a seasonal allergy.
Also, allergy symptoms won't change if kids continue to be exposed to the cause. They can even go on for months! On the other hand, cold and flu symptoms escalate at first, taper off, and typically don’t last more than a couple of weeks.
Which Over-the-Counter Products Can Help?
When it comes to OTC allergy relief for kids, there are two categories to choose from, with a few different options in each:
These are a class of drugs that fight histamine, a substance released in the body during an allergic reaction. Antihistamines come in different forms, including pills, liquids, and nasal sprays, and are effective OTC allergy products.
Some popular OTC options for kids’ allergy relief include:
- Claritin® 24 Hour Allergy Tablets
One tablet per day for children 6 and older will help relieve symptoms like a runny nose and itchy or watery eyes. The active ingredient in Claritin® is loratadine, which also helps with decongestion.
- Benadryl® Allergy Ultratabs
Appropriate for children 6 and older for allergy relief. The active ingredient in Benadryl® is diphenhydramine, which may cause drowsiness.
- Zyrtec® Allergy 10 mg Tablets
Children 6 and older can take one 10mg Zyrtec® tablet daily to relieve common seasonal allergy symptoms. Zyrtec®'s active ingredient is cetirizine.
OTC allergy medicines also include decongestants to help unblock the congestion that often comes with allergies. You can find decongestants such as nasal sprays, tablets, or liquids. Some popular OTC options for kids’ allergy relief include:
- Nasacort® Allergy 24 Hr Spray
With adult supervision, you can give Nasacort® to children as young as 2 to help relieve allergy symptoms.
Pseudoephedrine, the active ingredient in Sudafed®, is another nasal decongestant. It’s one of the most common over-the-counter allergy medicines and may be used for children 4 years and older to help relieve congestion and a stuffy nose.
Over-the-counter kid's allergy medicines are safe as long as parents and guardians follow some basic precautions and labeled directions.
- Read labels carefully: Information about age-appropriate doses, how often to administer, active ingredients, and expiry dates are critical. Always check and double-check the labels!
- Don't make up your dose: Recommended doses exist for a reason. So even if it's not your first time, do not give an amount beyond what's on the label.
- Give the medicine time to work: Avoid "doubling up" with other kids' allergy meds, as taking too much of an active ingredient and mixing medicines can be dangerous.
- Monitor for side effects: After giving allergy medicines, monitor your kids to ensure that they don't have any negative reactions. This is especially important if it's their first time with a medicine.
- Keep out of reach of children: It's important to keep all medications in your house safely stored up & away, out of the sight and reach of curious young children.
When to Talk to a Healthcare Professional
When it comes to your kid's health, you can never be too careful. If you're unsure about anything or it's your first time using an allergy medicine, consult a healthcare professional before giving any medicine to your child.
You should consult with a healthcare professional if:
- You're giving your child allergy medication for the first time
- You're trying to determine how often or how much medicine to give
- The medication doesn’t seem to be working
- Your child has any negative or unusual side effects after taking medication
- Your child’s symptoms last longer than expected or you want to explore prescription options
- You're combining kids' allergy medicines with any other OTC medication or prescription
- Your child has underlying medical conditions
- You're considering allergy shots or other forms of immunotherapy
Before we go, let's review the key takeaways from this article:
- Parents must be aware of the causes, especially dust mites and pollen.
- Itchiness, red eyes and skin, and a runny nose are big indicators of allergies.
- The key differences between allergies and cold/flu symptoms are typically fever, pain, and duration.
- Antihistamines and decongestants are the most common OTC kids' allergy remedies.
- Always use safe practices when giving children allergy medicine.
- Talk to a healthcare professional if you're unsure about the symptoms or medication for kids' allergies.