Allergic rhinitis in children
Sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, and congestion are all symptoms of allergy. If these symptoms occur along with itchy eyes, mouth and skin, then you may be suffering from allergic rhinitis. It is very common in children, especially preschoolers and teens.
Allergic rhinitis can occur in either of the two forms. The first one could be seasonal rhinitis, which is commonly known as hay fever.The symptoms are seen in spring, summer or early fall. This condition occurs due to sensitivity to pollen grains or spores in the air.
In case of perennial allergic rhinitis, your child will suffer fromthe symptoms throughout the year. This condition occurs due to sensitivity to dust, pet dander, mold, etc.
What causes allergic rhinitis in children?
Simply put, allergic rhinitis is one form of allergy. When an external allergen enters the body, be it through the nose, mouth or physical contact- the body releases histamines (chemicals) to get rid of the foreign particles. It is then when allergic rhinitis is triggered, leading to symptoms like coughing, sneezing, runny nose, itching, etc.
What allergens are responsible for the allergic reaction?
If your child is sensitive to allergens and has this problem throughout the year, then coming in contact with dust, pet dander, insects like mites, cobwebs, etc. is most likely to break out allergic rhinitis. In some cases, cigarette smoke, perfume or even diesel exhaust could trigger the symptoms.
Seasonal allergies are usually caused by pollens from flowers, weeds, grass, and trees or from mold and fungi, especially during rainy seasons. Apart from those, allergic rhinitis can also occur from drugs and food sensitivity.
What are the symptoms of allergic rhinitis in children?
Your child will typically suffer from
- Runny nose
- Bouts of sneezing
- Itching in nose, ears and throat
- Red and watery eyes
- Blocked or congestion in the nose
Children with perennial rhinitis experience fatigue and weakness due to the symptoms bothering them always. They also face difficulty in breathing.If the allergic rhinitis has been triggered by some drugs or food, then skin rashes or eczema might also show up.
Complications of allergic rhinitis in children
- Makes asthma worse
- Leads to sinusitis infection
- Nose bleeds and glue ear
- Life threatening anaphylactic reaction
Diagnosis of allergic rhinitis in children
The pediatrician will evaluate the symptoms and perform a physical examination to look for signs like swollen tissues around the nose, dark circles under eyes, etc. He will also inquire about any kind of family history of allergies. Let your doctor know if you suspect anything that your kid might be allergic to.
Taking the diagnosis further, a blood test and allergic skin test would be suggested. The doctor might also perform an endoscopy of the nose to view the internal condition.
Treatment of allergic rhinitis
The treatment basically depends on the severity of the infection. The doctor won’t prescribe any medicines in case of very mild allergy. However, in most cases, allergic rhinitis in children is treated with OTC antihistamines, non-sedative antihistamines, nasal decongestants or nasal sprays. Make sure you stick to the dosing prescribed by your doctor.
In case of severe allergy or perennial allergic rhinitis, immune shots or immunotherapy involving injections of specific allergens for three to five years course may be recommended.
Precautions to avoid allergic rhinitis in children
The only way to reduce chances of allergy isprotecting your child against allergens. Make sure your house is dust, insects, mold, and mite proof. For the health of your child, you have to consider avoiding pets at home or even petting any dogs, cats, birds or any other breed. Cover his/her nose and mouth with a scarf to protect from outdoor allergens. Educate your kids about the necessity of hygienic habits likewashing hands with antiseptic before eating and after returning from outside.
Keep the child home during the period when pollen counts in air are high. This includes midmorning and early evening. Avoid use of window fans as it could allow dust and pollen into the house. When travelling, keep the windows of your car closed. At home, keep the windows shut to avoid dust and other allergens from entering the home environment. Wash bedding regularly to avoid dust mites.
Speak to your doctor or allergist regarding allergic rhinitis and clear any doubt in mind. This will help you prevent as well as take necessary action in case of an allergic reaction.
Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: March 21, 2015