Sniffling, sneezing, watery eyes, stuffy noses, sinus pressure, headaches, and generally feeling like you’re been hit by a Mac truck. All of this sounds like a total nightmare for you, so just imagine the torture it is for your little one who either can’t explain what hurts or is too young for certain medications. Allergies are no fun for anyone, most of all your kids, but since one in four children in the U.S. suffers from allergies, chances are you may be looking for a way to ease their misery.
The first thing you need to figure out when it comes to your child’s allergies problem is to confirm it’s allergies vs cold. Once you decide it’s allergies, it is time to dig deeper into the causes. Do they only get sneezy in a room full of pets? Only when outside? Did the skin rash start when you changed laundry or bath soap? If you were able to narrow down the cause right away, awesome, but don’t be discouraged if you can’t put your finger on it. If you are having trouble after some extended sleuthing, you might want to consider a trip to the pediatrician for an allergy skin test. This is where your child’s doctors will subject your child to several different allergens to see what is the exact cause.
Once you have your culprit narrowed down, you can now get started on combating it. Of course, the best way would be to reduce your child’s exposure to their allergy trigger but that may not always be possible. Some of the easiest ways you can help reduce exposure is to use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, use allergy-free pillow and bed covers, change the air conditioning/heating filters in your home, keep your child’s room uncluttered, use hypoallergenic soaps and laundry detergents, or even rid your home of household pets.
If you prefer to go the medicinal route in controlling your child’s allergies, there are many over the counter options to choose from that are regarded as safe as long as you don’t use more than one type of medication at a time. Benedryl is one of the more common OTC medications that is safe for children as young as 4 months. Allegra, Claritin and Zyrtec are safe for toddlers, with fewer side effects than Benedryl, and last as long as 24 hours. Other options are Sudafed, a decongestant that may cause hyperactivity, and RobitussinDM, which also help with cough. However, be sure to consult your pediatrician for dosing instructions on any type of over the counter medication you give to your child. In extreme cases, your doctor might recommend allergy shots but these are not recommended until your child is at least 4 to 6 years old.
In the end, toddler allergies, although never fun, are easily treated with a little knowledge and lots of planning. From OTC medications to always keeping a tissue in your back pocket, there’s always ways to ensure that your young one doesn’t have to suffer this allergy season.
Image Credit: Image by jfl1066 on flickr.com, used under the Creative Commons License.