Sneezing might be from a cold, but it can also be an allergic reaction to an airborne allergen. As many as 35 million Americans suffer from upper respiratory symptoms that are allergic responses, many of them children. Pollen allergies also called hay fever or cedar fever is one of the most common. Respiratory symptoms like asthma are experienced by 15 million Americans.
Where Do They Come From?
These problems are especially common in children whose immune systems are not ready to combat the allergens floating around in the springtime air. Allergies can be inherited too from parents who suffer from environmental allergies.
Upper Respiratory Reactions Are Common
The respiratory system is made up of two areas: upper and lower. The upper system includes the nose, mouth, and sinuses. The lower has the lungs and airway.
Upper respiratory allergy symptoms include runny nose with clear drainage. Often there will be itchy, watery eyes. You may see your child constantly rubbing the eyes unable to get relief for the itching. Headaches are common as well stemming from sinus pressure.
The symptoms are generally very similar to that of a cold; however, if the symptoms last longer than a week, that may be an indicator of an allergy, and a visit to the pediatrician may be in order.
A Visit To The Doctor
Once you see a doctor, he will probably ask about the symptoms and ask probing questions to determine if they are caused by an environmental allergen. Do they occur at a particular time of day? Is there some activity which sets it off? He will be seeking some kind of indication as to whether it’s mold, pollen or maybe pet dander triggering the response. Your doctor may order allergy skin tests to narrow down the possibilities.
Treatments Will Vary
Over the counter medications taken seasonally may be in order. Less frequently, some children are directed to take allergy shots to help control the outbreaks. You can reduce triggers at home by using a hypoallergenic pillow, air filters, and removing rugs from your child’s room. Stuffed animals can also set off respiratory allergies so be sure to keep yours clean.