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Relief From Spring Allergies

Pediatric Allergy Basics


Updated March 12, 2010

With the first day of spring, we may get warmer weather, spring showers, flowers, and more fun times outside for kids, but it also signals the start of spring allergy season.

Spring Allergy Symptoms

In addition to a runny nose and sneezing, your child with spring allergies may have watery, itchy eyes, dark circles under his eyes (allergic shiners), and an itchy nose.

Our Seasonal Allergy Screening Quiz can help you figure out if your child has spring allergies.

Allergy Relief

Although spring allergies are common and can make your kids miserable, fortunately there are many medications to help control your child's symptoms. Even younger infants and children can now take allergy medicines to help prevent and control their allergies.

Commonly used allergy medications include antihistamines, such as:

  • Claritin, which is now over-the-counter and available in many generic versions of loratadine, including Alavert, Dimetapp ND, and store brands from Rite-Aid and Wal-mart. It is available as a syrup for children over age 2 years and a tablet or disintegrating tablet for children over age 6.
  • Zyrtec, available over-the-counter as a syrup for children over age 2 years, a chewable tablet, and a regular tablet for older kids.
  • Allegra, until recently, was available only as a pill, which limited its use for younger children. Allegra is now available as an oral suspension and so there is now another option for treating young kids with allergies, even if they can't swallow pills.
  • Clarinex is now available as a syrup for children over age 6 months, a disintegrating RediTab for children over age 6 years, and a tablet for kids over age 12.
Reviewing these medications, you can see that you now have an options to treat younger infants with seasonal allergies, as Clarinex is FDA approved for children over age 6 months.

In addition to antihistamines, Singulair is a medication that can be used treat seasonal allergies in children over age 6 months. It is also FDA approved to treat asthma in children over age 12 months. It is available as an oral granule packet that can be sprinkled on your child's food or a chewable tablet, which makes it easy to give younger children.

And don't forget steroid nasal sprays. Although younger children especially don't like them, they can be quite effective at controlling your child's allergy symptoms.

Commonly used steroid nasal sprays include:

  • Nasonex, which can be used in children 2 years of age and older
  • Flonase, which can be used in children 4 years of age and older
  • Nasacort AQ, which can be used in children 6 years of age and older
  • Omnaris, which can be used in children 6 years of age and older
  • Rhinocort Aqua, which can be used in children 6 years of age and older
  • Veramyst, which can be used in children 2 years of age and older
Astelin is another type of nasal spray that can be used for children 5 years of age and older. It is not a steroid though. Instead, it is an antihistamine nasal spray and may be a good alternative to steroids for some children.

OTC Allergy Medicines

In addition to loratadine, there are many other over-the-counter allergy medicines available that you can give your child. Many, including Benadryl, Triaminic Cold & Allergy, and Dimetapp Cold & Allergy, can make your child sleepy and likely shouldn't be used on a regular or daily basis. A non-sedating, once a day, allergy medication would be a better choice for your child's daily allergy symptoms.

NasalCrom is another over-the-counter allergy medicine that can help to control and prevent your child's allergy symptoms. Unlike most other OTC allergy medicines, NasalCrom is a nasal spray, which has another downside in that it must be used 3-4 times a day.

Uncontrollable Allergy Symptoms

If your child's allergy symptoms don't get under good control with some combination of these allergy medicines, it may be time for some allergy testing or a trip to a Pediatric Allergist.

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