Nasal Allergies in Kids: How Do You Treat Them?
Both adults and kids may have many different types of allergies. If your little one is affected by nasal allergies, the most common of which are allergic reactions to pollen, there are some medications on the market you should know about.
Before giving any medicine to your child (and taking it yourself), make sure to get familiar with the instructions on the label.
What Are Antihistamines?
An allergic reaction in your child’s body is a result of a release of a chemical called histamine. This leads to such symptoms as stuffy or runny nose, as well as itchy and watery eyes.
You can reduce the symptoms of allergy with some medications. The most commonly used allergy medications are known as antihistamines. The mechanism of their actions is stated in their name: antihistamines work by blocking the effect of histamine.
There are two types of antihistamines: short-acting (taken every 4-6 hours) and longer-acting (taken every 12-24 hours). Some of these medications also contain a decongestant.
Discuss with your pediatrician which medication which medication is better for your case.
Like all the medicines, antihistamines may cause certain side effects. The most common of them include drowsiness and dry mouth.
What Should You Give Antihistamines to Your Child?
Usually, specialists recommend starting the use of antihistamines before the symptoms occur, which should help to minimize them.
Depending on your case, your pediatrician will tell you when you should give the medicine to your child. You may rather have to give it before bed – if your child’s symptoms tend to worsen between 4 and 6 in the morning, taking the medicine before going to sleep will help to control the morning symptoms; before the allergy season – if your child has pollen allergy, give him the allergy medication 3-10 days prior to pollen season; or all time – if your child has year-round allergies, you may need to give him the medication on a regular basis.
What Are the Most Common Antihistamines?
Commonly used prescription antihistamines are azelastine nasal sprays (like Astelin and Astepro), desloratadine (Clarinex), and hydroxyzine (Atarax, Vistaril).
Common prescription eyedrops can only be given to children over 3 years of age. Those include Azelastine eyedrops (Optivar), or Olopatadine HCL (Pataday, Patanol). There are also over-the-counter eyedrops available, such as ketotifen fumarate (Zaditor).
Over-the-counter options among antihistamines include cetirizine (Zyrtec), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), fexofenadine (Allegra), and loratadine (Alavert, Claritin).
What About Steroid Nasal Sprays?
Steroid nose sprays can help your little one breather easier by fighting symptoms like inflammation and itching and reducing mucus and congestion. They are available in the forms of liquids and aerosol puffs. You may need to use them once or more times per day, and usually, they take a while to start acting.
These sprays are available under prescription.
To ensure better results, you or your child should spray the medicine away from the wall between the nostrils, which is called the septum. If your child’s nose has mucus, he has to blow his nose first or it should be cleared with a spray saline solution.
Sometimes, specialists recommend taking antihistamines and other allergy medications around a week or two before you start the nasal spray.
What Other Allergy Drugs Are There?
Prescription medication Singulair is a drug for preventing asthma attacks, which is also used for the treatment of allergies. Singulair reduces congestion in the nose, helps to alleviate sneezing, itching and eye allergies. It works by blocking the inflammatory chemicals that swell the nasal passages and lead to mucus accumulation.
Eye allergies symptoms, like itchy eyes, may be treated by prescription eyedrops. Those may need to be applied daily.
Finding the right allergy medication (or medications) for your child is not easy and may take some time. Consult the treatment plan for your little one with your pediatrician.