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.

Allergy Medicines

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.

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Healthy Winter Season

October 22, 2016

Contagious viruses are actives year round, but in the fall and winter we are the most vulnerable to them. People spend more time indoors during this time with other people and there’s a lot of cold weather. To combat viruses we can use several FDA approved vaccines and medications.

Viruses

Most respiratory viruses are gone within a few days and have no lasting effects, but some of them can cause serious health problems. People that use tobacco or get secondhand smoke, are prone to respiratory illnesses and can have more complications than nonsmoker do when exposed.

Colds

A cold usually causes sneezing, stuffed, and runny noses. There may be a scratchy throat as well as watery eyes and coughing. There’s no vaccine for a cold and they start gradually and often come from contact with infected mucus.

Flu

The flu last longer than a cold and can come on suddenly. Headache, fever, chills, body aches, dry cough, general misery, and fatigue are all symptoms of the flu. The flue may also cause a stuffy or runny nose and there may be nausea or vomiting issues. The flu is spread when people talk, sneeze or talk and spread droplets in the air. You may also get the flu by touching an infected surface that has the flu virus.

Tips for Prevention

There are rare exceptions, but everyone over six months of age should get the flu vaccine. You can get the vaccine as a nasal spray or a shot. This reduces doctor’s visits, flu illness as well as missed school or work. The vaccine also prevents hospitalization due to flu complications as well as death from the flu.

You should get the vaccine before October, but vaccines through January and other months can still offer you protection. You need an annual vaccination as the flue always changes and the vaccine needs to be updated. A person’s immune protection from the virus will decline over time. For people at high risk, an annual flu vaccine is important. These individuals include:

  • Children under five years of age, and especially those younger than two
  • Women that are pregnant
  • People that have chronic illnesses like diabetes, asthma, lung, or heart disease
  • Anyone over the age of sixty-five

Wash Hands Often

You should wash your hands often and teach your children to do this also. Colds and flu can be passed through contaminated surfaces like your hands. Soap and water are best for hygiene according to the FDA, but you can also use alcohol based hand rubs. Make sure you clean the hands and remove dirt or blood as this will make the alcohol based rub ineffective at killing bacteria.

Limit Exposure to Those that are Sick

Try to keep small children like infants away from crowds during their first few months.

Heathy Habits for Prevention

  • Make sure you eat a healthy diet
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Make sure you exercise
  • Keep tabs on your stress