Are Allergies In Kids Different Than In Adults
It can be especially difficult to control allergies in kids, Dr. Leeds says, adding that kids tend to spend more time outdoors and, thus, are exposed to more pollen. A high pollen count day is not going to deter them from going to the playground, says Dr. Leeds. Thats unlike an adult who might say, ‘Im going to drive my car to work, keep the windows rolled up, and not take that walk during lunch.’
Another difference is that allergies in adults are usually well-established, while in kids there is the hope that they will outgrow them, Dr. Leeds says.
With kids, we talk about the concept of atopy, which is an allergic predisposition, she says. For a child with a strong family history of any allergiesand especially for those who develop symptoms early in lifedoctors look out for the four main allergic diseases: eczema, food allergies, nasal allergies, and asthma. These allergic diseases, in general, are increasing in prevalence, she says.
Get A Good Air Purifier
While a decent HVAC air filter is important for indoor air quality, you can step it up a notch further by getting a mechanical air purifier. These devices use multiple filters and even UV light to remove allergens from the air much more effectively than an HVAC filter alone.
Air purifiers come in a variety of qualities and sizes, and what kind you get depends on your individual needs. You can get a small, portable device for use in a single room or you can even get a large, whole-house air purifier that hooks up to your home’s main ventilation.
Some air purifiers are better than others, and their advertising can be deceptive. Look for air purifiers that are certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America to ensure that the one you buy can filter common allergens from the air.
HEPA filters are considered to be one of best high-quality air purifiers and is the gold standard for mechanical air filtration. They use multiple filtration steps and can screen out least 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns or larger from the air.
Seasonal Allergies: How To Know Whats Making Your Child Miserable
Kids as young as 2 years old can have seasonal allergies. Some signs that your little one isnt just dealing with a cold include:
- Stuffiness and a runny nose that produces clear and watery drainage.
- Nose and throat itchiness.
- Eye itchiness and redness.
- Cough thats worse at night and in the morning .
Another telltale sign that a child has seasonal allergies? Face rubbing, says Dr. Hong. Theyre rubbing their eyes and nose. Sometimes kids even get this tiny line, right on their nose, because they push up on it. Youll see a little crease from all the rubbing.
Allergy symptoms can even make it hard for your kid to concentrate in school or when playing sports. Parents might also notice that their child is eating with their mouth open because they cant breathe through their nose effectively, says Dr. Hong.
Allergy relief for kids
Over-the-counter treatments such as saline sprays, nasal steroid sprays and antihistamines can work for children, but Dr. Hong says parents should talk to their pediatrician first.
And monitor how allergy medications make children feel. Some antihistamines can cause drowsiness, Dr. Hong says. Its best to either give them the medicine at night or choose one thats made for daytime use to reduce drowsiness.
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Watching What You Eat
To ease your pollen allergy symptoms, start by strictly limiting your consumption of processed foods for at least a couple of weeks and, instead, emphasize fresh, quality proteins, fruits and vegetables. This often means avoiding almost all foods packaged in boxes, cans, bottles, jars, tubs and bags. Such packaging almost always indicates some degree of processing and a reduction in micronutrient levels.
Its especially important to avoid eating wheat-, corn- and rye-containing foods, and dairy products. There are a couple of reasons for this recommendation. First, wheat, corn and dairy are among the most common food allergensand it only makes sense to reduce your total allergic burden. Second, grains are genetic descendants of grasses, and people with grass allergies may have some cross sensitivity. Cattle consume grasses or grains, and trace amounts of these foods appear to pass into milk and other dairy products. Try avoiding one food family, such as grains, then eliminate dairy. If your pollen symptoms ease, continue limiting these foods at least until your allergy season passes.
How Bad Can Spring Allergies Get
People can be very miserable. Their eyes can become itchy and swollen, their noses get congested, they sneeze a lot and if they have asthma, their lungs can become irritated.
Dr. Eidelman says if you have allergic rhinitis or nasal allergies, things can get really bad and may affect your quality of life quite significantly.
People might have trouble working or going to school. They may have trouble sleeping and they often feel tired. Even if they try to get enough sleep, its not normal sleep. So, work presenteeism can be quite common. This is when people show up to work or school but they cant function at 100% because theyre kind of out of it like they feel when they have a cold or the flu.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States. The annual cost from all of this is around $18 billion per year.
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How Can I Protect Myself And/or My Child From These Seasonal Allergies
During the pollen and mold season, we recommend jumping in the shower as soon as you get home every night to rinse the pollen off. Put cold, wet washcloths over your eyes and gently squeeze them to rinse the pollen out of your eyes. You may need to keep the air conditioner running through much of the season to keep the pollen out of the house. We never recommend staying indoors all summer, however! We encourage everyone to spend time outside playing as a family.
Unproven Methods To Test For Allergies
A number of methods claim to test for allergies, but they have not been medically or scientifically proven. They can be costly and could lead to dangerous avoidance of certain foods. The organisation representing allergists recommends that you do not use certain methods to have potential allergies tested. These methods include:
- cytotoxic food testing
- Vega testing.
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How Is Allergic Rhinitis Treated
Several allergy medications can improve symptoms and help you live with hay fever. These treatments come in many forms, including liquids, pills, eye drops, nasal sprays and injections. Talk to your provider before taking any medication, especially if youre pregnant or have other health concerns. Your provider may suggest:
Antihistamines: Antihistamine medications are available with a prescription or over the counter. They work by blocking the histamine that your body releases during an allergic response. Antihistamines come as pills, liquids, eye drops, nasal sprays and inhalers. They include:
- Loratadine .
- Fexofenadine .
- Levocetirizine .
Antihistamines can cause drowsiness. Avoid alcohol when taking antihistamines, especially if youre going to drive.
These medications relieve congestion in the nose and sinuses. You can take decongestants by mouth or use a nasal spray. They include:
- Afrin® nasal spray.
- Phenylephrine nasal spray .
Corticosteroid nasal sprays: These sprays and inhalers reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms of hay fever. The most common nasal sprays are Flonase®, Nasacort® and Rhinocort®. Side effects include headaches, nasal irritation, nosebleeds and cough.
Your provider might recommend immunotherapy in the form of a pill that you place under your tongue.
When To Consider Allergy Shots
If over-the-counter-medicines and nasal sprays dont seem to be working, you might want to consider allergy shots. Dr. Eidelman says they can help lessen your sensitivity to pollen and more.
Allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy, can make you less sensitive to all the things that youre allergic to. For example, if youre allergic to tree pollen, you would get an allergy shot thats made out of tree pollen protein.
So what does that mean?
In a lab, they extract the protein from tree pollen and they make an extract with it. That extract is then used to desensitize or make the patient less sensitive to tree pollen. Allergy shots are very effective and many controlled studies have reflected this. Allergy immunotherapy is the only treatment that has the potential to cure allergic rhinitis, Dr. Eidelman says.
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What Is Allergic Rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction to tiny particles in the air called allergens. When you breathe in allergens through your nose or mouth, your body reacts by releasing a natural chemical called histamine. Several indoor and outdoor allergens cause hay fever. Common causes include dust mites, mold, pet dander and pollen from trees and plants.
Symptoms of hay fever include sneezing, nasal congestion and irritation of the nose, throat, mouth and eyes. Allergic rhinitis is not the same as infectious rhinitis, otherwise known as the common cold. Hay fever is not contagious.
Side Effects And Risks
People can get infections if they use neti pots or other nasal rinsing devices improperly. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has information on how to rinse your sinuses safely.
Most important is the source of water that is used with nasal rinsing devices. According to the FDA, tap water that is not filtered, treated, or processed in specific ways is not safe for use as a nasal rinse. Sterile water is safe over-the-counter nasal rinsing products that contain sterile saline are available.
Some tap water contains low levels of organisms, such as bacteria and protozoa, including amoebas, which may be safe to swallow because stomach acid kills them. But these organisms can stay alive in nasal passages and cause potentially serious infections. Improper use of neti pots may have caused two deaths in 2011 in Louisiana from a rare brain infection that the state health department linked to tap water contaminated with an amoeba called Naegleria fowleri.
Acupuncture is generally considered safe when performed by an experienced practitioner using sterile needles. Improperly performed acupuncture can cause potentially serious side effects.
Raw butterbur extracts contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can cause liver damage and cancer. Extracts of butterbur that are almost completely free from these alkaloids are available. However, no studies have proven that the long-term use of butterbur products, including the reduced-alkaloid products, is safe.
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Don’t Fear Spring Allergies And Asthma
- Health & Wellness
- Lung Health and Diseases
It’s finally spring! The days are getting longer, flowers are starting to bloom, the weather is warming up and oh, unfortunately asthma and allergy triggers are making their seasonal appearance.
Pollen is perhaps the most obvious springtime asthma and allergy offender. As flowers, weeds, trees, grass and other plants begin to bloom, they release pollen into the air. If you’re allergic to pollen, you know what happens nextachoo! Sneezes, sniffles and a strong desire to draw the blinds and stay inside for a couple of months. Allergic reactions can cause symptoms in your nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, lining of the stomach or on the skin. Allergies can also trigger symptoms of asthma, making it more difficult to breathe. And pollen isn’t the only spring allergy and asthma trigger. Air pollution and temperature changes can also make your symptoms worse.
But don’t fear. You don’t have to trade your spring kickball league for a Netflix account or wear a hazmat suit to venture outdoors. Follow these tips to ensure your spring is every bit as exciting as it is for Potoka the giraffe.
How To Cope With Spring Allergies: The Early Bird Gets The Worm
If your plan to defeat spring allergies starts when you see those first spring buds, youre too late. People who have seasonal allergies should prepare for their symptoms before they start, Dr. Hong says. Heres how:
Take meds early
Take medications before allergy season starts, recommends Dr. Hong. Then you have your bodys defenses in place when pollen hits before symptoms become severe and more difficult to control.
If you take oral immunotherapy, called sublingual immunotherapy, it is important to start the treatment 12 weeks before peak season. The same goes for over-the-counter antihistamines and steroid nasal sprays.
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Spending Time Outside On The Wrong Days
Heading outside when pollen counts are high is one way to trigger seasonal allergy symptoms. If you suffer from this misery, try to stay indoors on windy days and reserve your outside time until after it rains. Rain clears pollen, which helps to keep allergy symptoms at bay. If you have to do outdoor chores on a day with high pollen counts, always wear a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask and take appropriate medication beforehand.
What Is A Skin Prick Test
This common test is painless and accurate, though it may be a little uncomfortable. Your provider places a small sample of different allergens on your skin and scratches or pricks the skin with a needle. Scratching the skin allows the allergen to get under the surface.
If youre allergic to the allergen, the area will become red, itchy and irritated in 15 to 30 minutes. You may develop raised, hive-like welts called wheals that show an allergic reaction. A skin prick test is a safe, effective way to determine which allergens are causing your symptoms.
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Use An External Eyewash With Turmeric
Curcumin, a compound present in turmeric, has anti-inflammatory effects and can inhibit the release of histamine from mast cells.4 Animal studies have found that this compound can suppress eye allergies.5
Try this simple ayurvedic remedy for your eye allergy: Mix in ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder into ¼ cup of distilled clean warm water and use the solution to clean eyelid and your outer eye. Add this flavorsome spice to soups and curries or have a cup of turmeric tea to fight inflammation from within.6
When To Seek Medical Help
If you’re unresponsive to over-the-counter allergy medication or if your allergies cause you to cough or wheeze, you could suffer from more than allergies – which means it’s time to see a doctor. Allergies can turn into asthma or an upper-respiratory illness such as bronchitis or a sinus infection, so it’s important to see an allergist who can assess your symptoms and develop a tailored treatment plan, which includes testing you for food allergies, asthma, and other conditions.
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What Allergy Treatments Are Available
Treatments can help a great deal, says Dr. Hsu. Allergy treatment has changed over the past 10 years, with a number of first-line medications now available over the counter, she says. So, while we have lots of consultations with patients, we dont necessarily send a prescription to the pharmacy. We often advise people on what to buybut we want to be very specific, because there are certainly a lot of over-the-counter medications that we would not recommend as first-line treatments.
For instance, she might start with antihistamines for itching and runny nose, steroid nasal sprays for nasal passage congestion, and antihistamine eye drops for ocular symptoms. If a patient is still uncomfortable, she might recommend a decongestant, but not for daily use, since its a medication patients can become overly reliant on. Likewise, some patients should avoid antihistamines that are excessively sedating, she says.
The problem is that some people think theyll just grin and bear it. But… you can take steps to minimize those weeks of misery.Yale Medicine pediatric allergist Stephanie Leeds, MD
Its helpful when patients have a skin or blood test to find out exactly what they are allergic to. If you are really symptomatic, its helpful to get tested at least once. I dont think you need to be re-tested year after year, but at some point, establishing the specific triggers can be helpful, because then you can take steps to avoid exposure, Dr. Leeds says.
Five Ways To Cope With Seasonal Allergies When Pollens At Its Peak
If you started your medication regimen late, dont despair. There are other steps you can take to stay sneeze-free.
1. Reduce your exposure
Run your air conditioning to keep pollens outdoors and air purifiers may also be helpful, Dr. Hong recommends. Keep pets out of your bedroom too, since they also have pollen on their coats, she notes. You should also avoid drying clothing outdoors and take a shower and change your clothes before going to sleep.
2. Travel smart
If youre planning a trip, research your destination to determine what allergens will be in the air. Keep the air conditioning on and the windows closed in your accommodations to reduce indoor pollen exposure by more than 90%.
If youre driving to your destination:
- Run the air conditioning in the car for 10 minutes before you leave.
- Leave in the early morning or late evening so you encounter less traffic and air pollution.
- Recirculate the air in your car. This way, youre not venting in pollen.
3. Rest easy
To sleep more soundly during allergy season:
- Close your bedroom windows and run the air conditioning, even on days that arent hot.
- Keep your sleeping space clean and free from allergens. Get rid of materials that attract dust.
- Use zippered covers for your pillow, mattress and box springs if you have dust mite allergies.
- Use blinds instead of fabric curtains and hardwood floors instead of carpet.
- Get rid of your ceiling fan, which flings dust around the room if its not kept clean.
4. Avoid pollen
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