Nothing quite announces springtime like pollen floating in the air. For some, this image brings joy and a sense of rebirth; for others, pure dread. But how do you tell the difference between a respiratory infection and seasonal allergies in children? And when should you visit a medical provider?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) approximately 15% of children in the United States have Hay Fever, or respiratory allergies. Allergies for all ages in the US are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness! That’s a lot of people suffering from allergy symptoms.
The first step is understanding when people are most likely to experience allergy symptoms. In general, there are three seasonal allergy seasons: spring, summer and fall. This seasonal trend follows the varieties of pollen circulating in the air: tree in spring, grass in summer, and ragweed in fall.
- Nose Rubbing - Often, children with allergies will rub their noses constantly attempting to relieve the itchy, runny feeling. In fact, they may rub their nose so much that you can see a crease on it.
- Sneezing - One of the signs that your child may have seasonal allergies is persistent sneezing. You may also notice that your child has sinus congestion because they eat their meals with their mouths open in order to continue breathing.
- Itchy or watery Eyes - They say eyes are a window to the soul and in the case of allergies they may be a window to a diagnosis. Most children with seasonal allergies will have red, watery, itchy eyes. Another common description of children with allergies are “allergic shiners.” Allergic shiners are swollen, blue colored skin under the eyes.
- Sore Throat - Children with seasonal allergies typically have a sore throat. This is caused by post-nasal drip irritating the back of the throat. It can also be caused by mouth breathing during the day or at night from nasal congestion.
- Fatigue - Most children are spunky, energetic little people; children with allergies will lose interest in their normal activities and be overly drowsy.
Understanding the 5 top signs of seasonal allergies in children are as important as recognizing the signs of a cold.
- Fever - Children with a cold likely will have a low-grade fever. Children who have seasonal allergies will not have a fever.
- Body Aches - Body aches are common with a cold or the flu but are absent in children with seasonal allergies.
- Duration - A cold typically will last 7-14 days while seasonal allergies will seem to go on and on. If your child has cold like symptoms that last for longer than a month and seem to have an onset around allergy season, its time to consider allergies at the cause.
If you suspect seasonal allergies in your child, I recommend making an appointment to see a primary care provider. A provider assists in determining the cause of your child’s symptoms and makes a recommendation on treatments. Some children can develop asthma as a result of their allergies, therefore, getting your child evaluated by a provider is the right proactive step to take.
Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.