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Valley doc: Help your child survive seasonal allergies
By Dr. Ron Spiegel
Spring is in the air! The budding trees, bright yellow daffodils and pollen dust on cars are obvious signs that allergy season is here. For children, who are generally outside more than adults, allergy season can be especially miserable.
Allergies can start in children as early as three years old, and in rare cases, earlier. If your child suffers the same symptoms around the same time each year, they most likely have allergies.
Symptoms include itchy, runny noses, sneezing and itchy red eyes that tear frequently. These symptoms can lead to headaches and sore throats and overall feelings of tiredness. If allergy symptoms are left untreated, they can lead to other conditions such as sinusitis, ear infections or even asthma flare-ups.
Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish allergy symptoms from illness. While allergies can be debilitating, they do not cause fevers or extreme fatigue or severe headaches. Another way to tell the difference between an infection and allergies is by how long the symptoms last. Viral illnesses last for 7 to 10 days, whereas the runny noses and sneezing associated with allergies usually last much longer. However, the overlap of symptoms can be difficult to distinguish. Avoiding allergens may be impossible, but it is possible to relieve the symptoms with over-the-counter medicines. Non-drowsy anti-histamines and anti-allergy eye drops allow most people to find relief.
A good way to reduce exposure to allergens is by keeping windows closed, limiting your children’s outdoor exposure and keeping them off fresh-cut lawns.
Other ways to manage allergies are to have your children wash their faces and hands frequently and change clothes after playing outside. Pets can also drag in allergens from outside, so be sure to keep them as clean as possible.
If your child has symptoms that interfere with their ability to attend school or other activities, consult your child’s healthcare provider to make sure he or she is correctly diagnosed and treated. An evaluation can help determine if prescription medicines will help.
If symptoms cannot be managed with prescribed medicines, your child’s healthcare provider may recommend taking your child to an allergy specialist to further manage persistent symptoms.
Dr. Spiegel is a pediatrician for Snoqualmie Ridge Medical Clinic in Snoqualmie. Call (425) 396-7684, or go to www.SVHD4.org.