During spring and summer, pollen counts tend to be higher mid-morning and early evening. Sunny, windy days can be especially bothersome for children with pollen allergies. When pollen levels are high, there are many strategies to prevent allergy symptoms:
• Keep windows closed; use air conditioning to cool your home
• Keep windows rolled up when driving; use air-conditioning to cool
• Avoid being outdoors when pollen counts are highest
• Avoid hanging clothing and bedding outdoors to dry; use the dryer
• Keep outdoor pets out of bedroom, because they can bring in pollen on their fur
During an allergic reaction, a chemical called histamine can make your child’s nose stuffy or runny and eyes watery or itchy. Antihistamines work by blocking the effect of histamine and are often the first-line of treatment. Short-acting antihistamines are taken every four to six hours, while long-acting, time-released antihistamines are taken once to twice daily. The most common side effects are drowsiness and dry mouth. Giving the medication prior to bedtime will control morning symptoms. If your child has pollen allergies, you may want to start an antihistamine three to ten days before pollen season to reduce symptoms.
• Allegra (fexofenadine)
• Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
• Chlor-Trimeton (chlorpheniramine)
• Claritin or Alavert (loratadine)
• Zyrtec (certirizine)
An over-the-counter decongestant can relieve stuffy nose, but using nose sprays for more than a few days may cause a rebound effect, in which symptoms get worse. Always read the Drug Facts medicine label to make sure the product is appropriate for your child’s age and weight. It may be necessary to see a health care professional to assess your child’s symptoms and see if prescription treatments, such as a steroid nose spray to reduce mucus, itch, and inflammation, may be appropriate.
• Sudafed (pseudoephedrine)
• Sudafed PE (phenylephrine)
• Neo-Synephrine (phenylephrine)
• Afrin (oxymetazoline)
To help ease your child's symptoms, visit a Fairview Pharmacy near you.
FDA Consumer Updates: September 29, 2011 at www.fda.gov
Antihistamine Basics: October 5, 2012 at www.webmd.com
Pollen Allergies: WebMD Feature by Wendy C. Fries, Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD at www.webmd.com
UpToDate at www.uptodate.com
Pharmacist’s Letter January 2006, Volume 22, Number 220107 at www.pharmacistletter.com