Spring Allergies

Rob Snyder, MDAllergies

Runny noses, congestion, sneezing and itchy eyes! We all look forward to spring in Ohio after a long winter, but the allergies that come with it can be frustrating. Here are a few tips to help get you through this time.

You can minimize allergy symptoms by staying in air conditioning, which is reasonably effective with a quality air filter.  However, we want kids to be active and able to participate in outside activities for multiple reasons.  Here are some additional options.  I include the brand name for familiarity, although the generics are great and less expensive!

Oral Antihistamines:

Diphenhydramine (brand name Benadryl) can be helpful but is often sedating and only lasts for 6 hours.

More effective antihistamines such as cetirizine (Zyrtec), loratadine (Claritin) and fexofenadine (Allegra) last for 24 hours and are available over the counter.  These come in liquid, chewable and tablet form so they are usually simple to use with kids.  These are generally recommended down to age 2, occasionally in younger children under more direct guidance from your pediatrician or allergist.  These products help the first day that they are given, and can be used daily.

Nasal steroids:

Nasal steroids such as fluticasone (Flonase) are very helpful in decreasing nasal congestion and itching, but take several days to be effective.  Also available OTC, you will want to use these products daily for the entire allergy season to get the most benefit.  The hardest part is getting your child to hold still for the spray!  For older children, this can be a very effective treatment.

Opthalmic(eye) drops:

Few things make us more miserable than itchy, watery eyes when the pollen count is up!  Ketotifen (Zaditor) eye drops can be very useful and are also available without a prescription.

If these medications are not helping or you have additional questions, give us a call.  There are several prescription strength medications which may be helpful.  Good luck!