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Kids' Health Kids' Health

Ask the Expert: Your Questions Answered -- Updated!

Posted by on Apr. 30, 2012 at 2:15 PM
  • 16 Replies

CafeMom is excited to announce that Dr. Eli Meltzer answered your questions about children's allergies.

Dr. Meltzer is Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego and is also a founder of the Allergy/Immunology Fellowship Training Program at UCSD. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Check out the questions and answers below!

by on Apr. 30, 2012 at 2:15 PM
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Replies (1-10):
CafeMom Team
by Group Owner on Apr. 30, 2012 at 2:16 PM


lalasmama2007 asked: Can seasonal allergies cause extreme headaches?

 

Dr. Meltzer answered:  People most often associate allergies with nose and eye symptoms, not with headaches. However, the respiratory inflammatory response releases chemicals and attracts cells that can irritate nerves, cause swelling and produce headaches. These headaches cause a feeling of pain (not usually severe) and pressure in the head and face above the nose and between the eyes. An anti-inflammatory and/or a decongestant allergy medication and/or ibuprofen may be helpful with such headaches.

CafeMom Team
by Group Owner on Apr. 30, 2012 at 2:21 PM


Bmat asked: Can seasonal allergies cause sinuses to be clogged so that the child's face aches?


Dr. Meltzer answered:  Depending on the severity of the child's seasonal allergies, it is not uncommon that nasal and sinus membranes can become so inflamed and swollen that they cause facial aches. Furthermore, allergic reactions to substances like airborne pollens, dust, animal dander and molds, can lead to obstruction of the sinuses' drainage. Antihistamines and decongestants, such as Allegra and Allegra-D (for children 12 years of age and older), can help keep nasal and sinuses clearer, thereby minimizing the pain that is causing the facial aches.

CafeMom Team
by Group Owner on Apr. 30, 2012 at 2:22 PM


Xandersmom asked: My son often sneezes a lot. I've had him tested for allergies and nothing showed up. Also, how do I get him to blow his nose? It seems like his least favorite thing to do...well, that and not eat his broccoli! Thanks!


Dr. Meltzer answered:  Sneezing is a common way the body clears nasal passages. Many parents have the same trouble with getting their children to blow their nose since some children tend to dislike it. Blowing out - either through the mouth or the nose - is actually a learned behavior so I would recommend practicing this process with bubbles or pretend birthday candles. Once the idea of blowing out through the mouth is established, you can move on to nose blowing out into tissues. It may help to have them gently close off one nostril and blow out through just one side at a time.

CafeMom Team
by Group Owner on Apr. 30, 2012 at 2:22 PM


Kmakksmom asked: When is a good time for adults and children to get tested for allergies?

 

Dr. Meltzer answered:  A child can be tested for allergies at any age. However, when to do so depends on many considerations, such as the specific symptoms, the severity of the symptoms, what the doctor sees during an exam, and whether or not asthma or nasal allergies run in the family. If you have concerns, talk to your child's doctor and decide together whether or not your child should be tested for allergies. As for adults, moving to a new location or getting a new pet is often a trigger for allergies particularly if you didn't suffer before, so talk to your doctor if you think you may have developed an allergy. A simple rule of thumb is: if the symptoms are compromising the child's or adult's daytime or nighttime quality of life, it is time to evaluate and treat. 

CafeMom Team
by Group Owner on Apr. 30, 2012 at 2:23 PM


pipsmommy asked: Could my 6 month old have seasonal allergies? I have them terribly and my dd seems to get cold about the same time my allergies get bad. She gets sicker than me though, and her symptoms last longer.

 

Dr. Meltzer answered: It is possible, but unlikely, that your six month old could have seasonal allergies. The tendency to develop allergies is often hereditary, which means it can be passed down from generation to generation. In general, although infants can develop other allergic problems, we are unlikely to notice seasonal pollen triggered allergies earlier than 12 to 15 months.  If you suspect your child has allergies, talk to your pediatrician. 

CafeMom Team
by Group Owner on Apr. 30, 2012 at 2:24 PM


Amonkeymom asked: Is there any way to get rid of the "allergy eye" look? All 3 of my kids, as well as myself, deal with this issue and no amount of sleep, allergy medication or makeup ever makes it go away. What do you recommend?


Dr. Meltzer answered:  Allergies can cause puffy, red eyes.  These are due to congestion and rubbing from the sensation of itch. Treatments include: reducing exposure to allergens such as pollen, dust mites (allergen-resistant coverings on mattresses, pillows and box springs) and animal dander, placing a cold compress on the eyelids for several minutes, and taking an over-the-counter antihistamine, such as Allegra or Children's Allegra. Additional tips include: making sure you stay hydrated with enough water, lowering your salt intake, and sleeping with the head slightly elevated so your respiratory tissues can drain.

CafeMom Team
by Group Owner on Apr. 30, 2012 at 2:25 PM


jesusgirl76 asked: My daughter is 19 months old. Is that too early for an allergy test?

 

Dr. Meltzer answered:  It is a common misconception that children need to be a certain age before they can be skin tested for allergies. Generally speaking, skin testing can be performed even in infancy and as young as one month of age. It's important to note that the skin of very young children may not be as reactive as older children and adults, and therefore the results need to be interpreted more carefully. An allergy test at such a young age is usually prompted by significant symptoms or that allergic disease runs in the family. 

CafeMom Team
by Group Owner on May. 14, 2012 at 2:50 PM

slw123 asked: What can we do about eye allergies? If my son spends any time outside while we are doing yard work, mowing, weeding, etc. His eyes get all puffy, watery and scratchy. What can we do for him to prevent this?



Dr. Meltzer answered: Itchy, watery and puffy eyes are uncomfortable allergy symptoms. Fortunately, there are  ways to help combat these problems. One hour before starting the outdoor project, have your children take an effective allergy medication, such as Children’s Allegra. When doing yard work, try to keep hands away from the face to avoid eye and nose contact. When finished pruning, planting and potting, don’t bring gardening tools indoors and quickly change into clean clothing. Showering and hair washing following a gardening session can also help reduce symptoms.

CafeMom Team
by Group Owner on May. 14, 2012 at 2:51 PM
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batjmom asked: The pollen is a big issue at the field where my kids play baseball.  What can I give them that will help the itch watery eyes that will not make theme tired? Thank you for your time.



Dr. Meltzer answered:
An important recommendation would be to try and prevent the symptoms before they start. I often recommend Children's Allegra an hour prior to going to the field. This antihistamine can block the onset of symptoms from the pollen exposure and provides effective, non-drowsy, 12-hour relief in formulas that are safe for children 2 years of age and older. Also make sure to rinse off their equipment and keep the gear outside to prevent pollen from causing symptoms in the house.

CafeMom Team
by Group Owner on May. 14, 2012 at 2:52 PM


MamaMandee asked: My hubby has really bad seasonal allergies but I don't, what are the chances of my kids having the same issues as my hubby?


Dr. Meltzer answered: An important contributor to the tendency to develop allergies is hereditary, or, in other words, what tends to run in families. However, it is hard to put a number or percentage behind the likelihood of your children developing seasonal allergies because the specific trigger of the allergy reaction is not hereditary. Heredity does not control which of the allergens will affect an individual, only that the system has a low tolerance to allergens. If you notice any of the typical allergy symptoms in your children such as itchy nose, eyes, ears or throat, sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion or pressure, it is time to visit a doctor to determine if they may have allergies, which specific allergens are causing the reactions, and the best ways to relieve the symptoms.

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