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Kids' Health Kids' Health

Ask the Expert: Your Questions Answered -- Updated!

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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
Replies (11-16):
CafeMom Team
by Group Owner on May. 14, 2012 at 2:52 PM


andrea_book asked: Is it rare for children under the age of 1 to developed allergies?


Dr. Meltzer answered: Seasonal allergies to pollen tend to manifest later because it takes at least one allergy season for a baby's immune system to "learn" to develop allergic reactions to them. Depending on when your baby was born, you're not likely to notice seasonal allergies earlier than 12 to 15 months.  Allergies to food, dust mites and animal dander can certainly develop in early infancy. If you suspect your child has allergies, talk to your pediatrician.

CafeMom Team
by Group Owner on May. 14, 2012 at 2:53 PM


MamaBear2cubs asked: How can you tell the difference between a simple cold and allergies?


Dr. Meltzer answered: The symptoms of colds (viral upper respiratory infections) and nasal allergies do overlap quite a bit. Both conditions produce sneezing and nasal congestion. However, colds can be associated with body aches, sore throats and low grade fever. The drainage from colds is usually discolored whereas the allergic mucus is typically clear. Eye and nasal itch are also more common with allergic reactions. A most important difference is that colds don't last longer than 14 days. If symptoms persist after two weeks, these are likely allergy symptoms.

CafeMom Team
by Group Owner on May. 14, 2012 at 2:53 PM


elijahsmama09 asked: I have a young child(3) who has allergies, but the most common method to treat allergies is very hard for me to do with him(nasal sprays). Is there anything I can that is easier? Or any tricks to  get him to use the spray better?


Dr. Meltzer answered: The most convenient way to administer medicine to a young child is with a liquid. Many of these are good tasting (such as Children's Allegra). Nasal sprays have their advantages, but if your child is resistant, for now go with the oral route. As he gets older, introduce water (like saline) sprays onto his hand, later onto his cheek and still later into his nose. When he is used to the water nasal spray, you can try medicated intranasal sprays.

CafeMom Team
by Group Owner on May. 14, 2012 at 2:55 PM


1wldgrl said: Dr. Meltzer was my doctor for many years as a child in the early 80's!! I just joined cafe mom yesterday and saw this post.... and thought I wonder if that is the same guy? I'm now 36 yrs old and he took care of me from about age 3-12 because I was always in and out of the hospital, he was sort of a big person in my life! We moved away, and I had to get a new doctor, but always remembered what a tender heart he has for children! IDK if he would remember me, but if he sees this, tell him HI and thanks for caring! ~Julie


Dr. Meltzer replied: Thank you Julie for the kind words. Of course I remember you. I send my warm regards.


CafeMom Team
by Group Owner on May. 14, 2012 at 2:55 PM


angelinammullen asked: I have a 2 year old who I believe has allergies. Come spring her nose starts running and eyes start hurting. Is there anything I can try to do or maybe give her to calm her allergies? My husband and I also have allergies.


Dr. Meltzer answered: The symptoms for young children are the same as for those who are older. However, young children are less able to identify them and report their discomfort. Eye symptoms are itch and tearing, and nasal symptoms are sneezing, itch (pay attention to the nasal rubbing), congestion (pay attention to the open mouth breathing) and excessive runny nose (pay attention to the sniffing).  If your child hasn't formally been diagnosed with allergies, you should start with a visit to your pediatrician. Here are a few tips to help ease seasonal allergy symptoms: check the local news or Internet for current pollen counts. If high pollen counts are forecasted, take a non-drowsy, effective allergy medication, such as Allegra or Children's Allegra, before symptoms begin. Also, make sure to wash hands with soap and water after spending time outside and keep the windows in your home and car closed to keep indoor air clear of pesky pollen.

CafeMom Team
by Group Owner on May. 14, 2012 at 2:55 PM


Momforhealth asked: At what point do you take your children to see an allergist?


Dr. Meltzer answered:
Because the symptoms of allergies in children can be similar to those of colds, it may be initially difficult to distinguish the source of the symptoms. Prior to taking your child to an allergist, evaluate the symptoms to be sure it's not a cold - which usually clears itself within 14 days. If symptoms are problematic and affect your child's well being and persist past this timeframe, make an appointment with an allergist. You can search for a qualified allergist in your area on the website for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology: www.aaaai.org.


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