Children are prone to having colds, but if the symptoms last for weeks on end, the problem may be another culprit: allergies.
Long-term episodes of runny (or stuffy) nose and sneezing are often signs of allergic rhinitis—the combination of symptoms that affect the nose when you have an allergic reaction to something you inhaled (or something that lands on the inside of your nose).
Allergies can be either seasonal or year-round (perennial). In most of the US, plant pollens cause the most cases of seasonal allergies (often known as hay fever). Mold, pet dander and dust mites often cause most cases of perennial allergies.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) reports that up to 40 percent of children suffer from allergic rhinitis, and the potential for allergies is higher in children with a family history of allergies.
Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medicines, parents still should exercise caution when giving these medicines to their children.
Immune System Reaction
Allergies occur when our immune system responds to an allergen by releasing histamine and other chemicals that causes nose, lungs, sinus, throat, eyes, ears, skin or stomach lining symptoms.
Some children are more prone to suffer from asthma episodes (periods of wheezing or breathing difficulties) when their allergies are triggered.
Doctor for the FDA’s Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Rheumatology, Dr. Antony Durmowicz, cautions that parents treat allergies in children who have both conditions or else the asthma treatment will not be effective.
OTC medicines are effective for treating childhood allergies. However, prescription treatments may be needed for more stubborn and persistent allergy cases. Seven options exist for pediatric allergy relief. And even if allergy medicine can be used in children as young as 6 months, you should always check the product label to determine if the medicine covers your child’s age group. Just because it’s a children’s medicine doesn’t mean it covers all age groups.
More Child-Friendly Medicines
Current pediatric legislation and FDA regulations for pharmaceutical companies promotes research and development of children’s medicines that have friendlier ingredients on the label. Since 1997, federal regulations have prompted the study of at least 600 products for minors.