You CAN Control Your Child’s Allergies

house dust mites, Pediatric ENT, pediatric sinusitis, allergies, rhinitis, asthma, otitis, reflux, integrative holistic

Image: House Dust Mites (Image credit, USDA)

Allergic rhinitis – usually simply called “allergies” – is a chronic illness resulting in stuffy, runny nose, nasal congestion. Itchy, burning eyes and general low energy are often associated.

Take a look at those couple of pollen grains and it’s easy to see why your eyes might itch. Ouch!

You know all that, or you wouldn’t be reading this, right?

It is estimated that allergic rhinitis affects nearly 50 Million Americans!

Over half of those with sinus disease have a history of allergic rhinitis, and it is estimated that close to 95% of those with asthma have rhinitis. Your child may have both too.

The good news – allergies CAN be controlled.

Allergies are often co-morbid with asthma and sinusitis. That is, they occur together. We now understand the connection between these illnesses: read more here about the Unified Airway Model.

The severity and frequency of allergies vary with the region you live in, but can be a pretty big deal no matter where you are:

Allergic rhinitis is the most prevalent chronic condition in children (below age 18). We know that nearly 40% of children miss school each year due to allergies.

Treat the Inflammation:

The good news is that allergic rhinitis can be controlled. Treating the underlying inflammation is the key to relieving symptoms, and to reducing co-morbidities.

8 Steps to eliminate allergies from your child’s life:

  • Learn the difference between symptoms of allergies and viral URI (common cold). These illnesses have many symptoms in common. But they are treated differently, so telling them apart is important:

Table from WebMD article at: http://bit.ly/AwrSn

Comparing the  Common Cold to Allergic Rhinitis

Characteristic Cold Allergy
Duration three-14 days Days to months — as long as you are exposed to the allergen
Time of Year Most often in the winter, but possible at any time Any time of the year — although the appearance of some allergens are seasonal
Onset of symptoms Symptoms take a few days to appear after infection with the virus. Symptoms can begin immediately after exposure to the allergen
Symptom Cold Allergy
Cough Often Sometimes
Aches Sometimes Never
Fatigue Sometimes Sometimes
Fever Rarely Never
Itchy, watery eyes Rarely Often
Sore throat Often Sometimes
Runny or stuffy nose Often; usually yellow mucus Often; usually clear mucusGet your child allergy-tested. Make an appointment to see an Allergist, preferably a Pediatric Allergist. Testing, and even simply meeting with the allergist, can often help identify the triggers for your child’s allergies. Identifying the triggers is the first step to eliminating them.
  • Start an Allergy Diary or Log: record your child’s diet and activities so that you can relate their allergy symptoms back to their foods, where they were, and what they were doing. This will help identify their triggers. See the book, “Is This Your Child?” by Dr. Doris Rapp.
  • Take a Holistic Approach: Become actively involved in your child’s Allergy Plan. Learn as much as you can about their triggers and begin eliminating those triggers from their lives.
    Don’t have a Plan? It’s time. See http://www.allergyactionplan.com/
  • Consider natural alternatives to common allergy medications. Anti-histamines introduce multiple potential issues for children, including drying effect on sinus secretions (bad for clearance), sleep problems, and behavioral problems.
    Daily nasal saline rinses are guaranteed to reduce symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
  • Start eating LOCAL honey – it may help your immune system to tolerate the local pollens: http://bit.ly/aHAcj
  • Do everything you can to eliminate dust mites:
  1. Dust-proof bedding covers
  2. Launder bedding often, at high temperature
  3. Get rid of stuffed toys
  4. Get rid of carpets if possible
  5. Damp-dust surfaces
  6. Replace cloth-upholstered furniture with wood, plastic, or leather
  7. Limit humidifier use to nighttime, let the rooms dry out during day
  8. Ventilate bedrooms; don’t make the beds in order for them to air-out and dry out during the day: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4181629.stm

(See – your kids were right not to make their beds. Who knew?)

__________

Russell Faust boogordoctor Pediatric Sinusitis Unified Airway

Image: Russell Faust – boogordoctor

Hi, I’m Russell Faust, author of this medical education blog. Let me know what topics are important to you and your child’s respiratory health. Join the conversation by leaving a comment / reply below, or email me any time.

Thanks for visiting, see you here later – we will be going into more detail on how to rid your children of allergies, rhinitis, sinusitis, and other chronic aero-digestive inflammatory disorders on this site.

If you are interested in these topics, please click here to subscribe to this blog (it’s FREE).

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Stay informed.

Stay healthy.

Until next time, remember … you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose (unless you’re a boogor doctor ;~D)

Resources:

Image credit: image of pollen grains by Jasmin Stieger (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons at
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tithonia_rotundifolia_pollen_-_20100720.jpg

Togias A: Mechanisms of nose-lung interaction. Allergy. Vol. 54: 94-105; 1999.

Rapp D: Is This Your Child?; Harper, Pub., 1992; ISBN-10: 0688119077.

Great Website: “House dust mites – cause of most asthma, nasal allergy and some eczema”:http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~aair/mites.htm

 

Comments

  1. Just found your website via a mother’s post on helping her son get help with his cough variant asthma.

    My son is 3, and has been struggling with allergies and “asthma” (though I think it is cva) for a year and a half.

    How can I do nasal saline rinses for a preschooler? I use a neti pot for myself but I cannot imagine that he would be compliant.

    He is currently on pulmicort (nebulizer treatment), zyrtec, and singulair – all things I would like to wean him off, if possible.

    I see that you mention reflux. I don’t believe he has reflux, but our PCP has never asked about it or checked for it. I need to get special cases to enclose his pillow and mattress.

    Thank you for your website, I will be back to read more!

    • Russell A. Faust, PhD, MD says:

      Hi Vicky,
      My apologies for taking a few days (a week!) to respond to you. First, thanks for visiting, and for your kind comments.
      Next, THE best resource for nasal rinsing is the Nasopure.com site, put up by Dr. Hana Solomon. She is a great integrative pediatrician, and her site includes videos of 3- and 4-year-olds doing nasal rinses. Showing my 5-year old boy the video of the 3-year girl was the only way I was able to get him to try nasal saline rinses. Her site is a wealth of information for families of children with rhinitis, sinusitis, and asthma.
      Please be sure to let Dr. Hana know whether that site helps you, and please do come back for more visits!
      Thanks,
      RF (boogs)

  2. Russell A. Faust, PhD, MD says:

    Hi Sarah,
    That does sound frustrating. Unfortunately, I cannot diagnose and treat over the internet, or the telephone. It just would not be appropriate or safe to give you advice without interacting face-to-face, getting a complete history, and examining your daughter. I will say that I am always a little suspicious of gastroesophageal reflux (GER, or GERD) as a contributing factor in rhinitis when symptoms are worse at night or first thing in the morning. Here are a couple links from this blog on reflux that you may find helpful:
    http://bit.ly/xqThJu
    http://bit.ly/wsbuBo
    http://bit.ly/f1ipfa
    It sounds as though your daughter is one of those children with a sensitive airway – anything that increases inflammation ANYwhere in their aero-digestive tract causes a response elsewhere – asthma exacerbation, otitis, tonsillitis, rhinitis, sinusitis, etc. This has been explained by the “Unified Airway Model”:
    http://bit.ly/xWMbTU
    http://bit.ly/vyJG1N
    I hope these articles help, Sarah, and wish you and your daughter the best success. Please do visit again and let us know how it’s going.
    boogs

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