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How to spot signs your child may have seasonal allergies

File photo
File photo (SXC)

Allergy season can be a miserable time for adults and children alike.

But how can a parent tell if their child is suffering from a common cold or if they have seasonal allergies?

Cleveland Clinic allergist Dr. Sandra Hong said one tell-tale sign that a child has seasonal allergies is if they’re rubbing their face.

“They’re rubbing their eyes and they’re rubbing their nose,” she said. “Sometimes kids will get this little tiny line, right on their nose, and it’s because they actually push up on it, so you’ll actually see a little crease there, just from all of the rubbing of their nose that they do.” 

Hong said children who have allergies can feel quite miserable, and their symptoms can keep them from being able to concentrate in school or when playing sports.

Some children also have asthma symptoms, causing them to feel short of breath and to cough a lot.

Most children with seasonal allergies will sound stuffy and congested. Hong said parents might also notice their child is eating with their mouth open because they can’t breathe through their nose effectively.

Over-the-counter treatments such as saline sprays, nasal steroid sprays and antihistamines can work for children, but Hong said parents need to talk to their child’s doctor about the different medications and proper dosing.

She said it’s also important to be on the lookout for how allergy medications make children feel.

“Monitor whether the medications make them sleepy,” said Hong. “Some of the actual liquids or pills that they might be taking can actually cause them to be sleepy, so you want to make sure that you either dose them at night or choose one that’s a little bit better for them so that they’re not drowsy.” 

If a child is having allergy symptoms all of the time, Hong said it’s best to be proactive and seek medical treatment so the child is able to focus in school and isn’t distracted by their runny nose and sneezing all day long.