Help your children get springtime allergy relief

by Symptom Advice on May 21, 2012

3. Watch pollen counts; if they’re very high, have your daughter play inside.

4. Get out the umbrellas and rain boots! Rainy and wet days (and cloudy and windless ones) are better for outdoor play. Pollen is less likely to be in the air.

5. Have your child wash and change after coming inside.

6. Don’t hang laundry outside to dry.

7. keep the car windows closed when you drive.

8. Mow the lawn and rake leaves when your child isn’t at home.

It’s hard to prevent all exposure, though. That’s where medication can help. Here are some of the options:

Diphenhydramine. This tried-and-true antihistamine can be very effective for allergy symptoms, and it’s available without a prescription. the downside is that it can make some children sleepy — and some children hyperactive.

Loratadine, cetirizine and fexofenadine. These once-a-day antihistamines are also available without a prescription. They’re less likely to make children sleepy (cetirizine may, but less then diphenhydramine). it can take a week or so before you really see results, so be patient.

Leukotriene modifiers. Leukotriene modifiers (such as montelukast) are prescription medicines that block leukotrienes, another chemical released during allergic reactions.

Cromolyn. An over-the-counter nasal spray (NasalCrom) that can help the nasal symptoms of allergies.

Nasal steroid sprays. These are sprayed into the nose, and can really help nasal congestion and sneezing. They’re available only by prescription.

Topical eye medications. if your child is plagued by itchy, runny eyes, and oral medication isn’t enough, your doctor may advise eye drops.

Some children with very severe allergies may need immunotherapy (allergy shots). but this is only after the above medications didn’t help — and after consultation with an allergy specialist.

(Claire McCarthy, M.D., a senior medical editor for Harvard Health Publications, is an assistant professor in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She is an attending physician and medical communications editor at Children’s Hospital Boston.)

(For additional consumer health information, please visit


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: