|Hay Fever (Nasal Allergies)|
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|HOME CARE ADVICE FOR HAY FEVER|
- Hay fever is very common, occurring in 15% of children.
- Nose and eye symptoms can be brought under control by giving antihistamines.
- Because pollens are in the air every day during pollen season, antihistamines must be given daily for 2 months or longer.
- Antihistamines: Â
- Give antihistamines continuously during pollen season (continuously is the key to control).
- Chlorpheniramine (e.g., chlortrimeton) products are effective and don't need a prescription. Any antihistamine you have will do, but some may cause more drowsiness.
- See dosage charts for chlorpheniramine or benadryl.
- The bedtime dosage is especially important for healing the lining of the nose. (Benadryl is a good choice for bedtime)
- Benadryl: If the runny nose and itchy eyes are out of control and your child is taking long-acting antihistamines, it's safe to give an occasional dose of Benadryl (see dosage table) to stabilize your child.
- Loratadine (Claritin) or Cetrizine (Zyrtec):
- Loratadine became OTC in 2003 and Cetirizine become OTC in 2008.
- Advantage: causes less sedation than older antihistamines (Benadryl and chlorpheniramine) AND is long-acting ( lasts up to 24 hours).
- Dosage: For 6-12 year old, give 5 mg chewable tablet once daily in morning
- For over 12 years old, give 10 mg tablet once daily in morning
- Indication: Age 6 (FDA approved) AND drowsiness from older antihistamines interferes with function
- Limitation: doesn't control hay fever symptoms as well as older antihistamines. Also, occasionally will have breakthrough symptoms before 24 hours.
- Cost: ask pharmacist for store brand (Reason: costs less than Claritin or Zyrtec brand)
- Nasal Washes:
- Use warm water (or saline) nosedrops to wash pollen or other allergic substances out of the nose.
- Instill 2 or 3 drops in each nostril followed by blowing the nose. Repeat until open.
- Teens can just splash warm water in the nose and then blow.
- To make saline nosedrops: 1/2 teaspoon salt to 1 cup (8 oz) of warm water.
- Do nasal washes at least 4 times/day or whenever your child's nose is blocked is blocked or itch.
- Eye Allergies: Â
- For eye symptoms, wash the pollen or other allergic substance off the face and eyelids.
- Then apply cold compresses.
- Antihistamine-vasoconstrictor eye drops (no prescription needed) are sometimes needed, but oral antihistamines usually control eye symptoms.
- Dosage: 1 drop every 8 hours as necessary.
- Ask your pharmacist to recommend a brand. (e.g. Naphcon A, Opcon A, Visine A)
- Wash Pollen Off Body:
- Remove pollen from the hair and skin with hair washing and a shower, especially before bedtime.
- Expected Course: Since pollen allergies recur each year, learn to control the symptoms.
- Pollen Avoidance:
- Pollen is carried in the air
- Keep windows closed in the home, at least in child's bedroom
- Keep windows closed in car, turn AC on recirculate
- Avoid window fans or attic fans
- Try to stay indoors on windy days (Reason: the pollen count is much higher when it's dry and windy)
- Avoid playing with outdoor dog (Reason: pollen collects in the fur)
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Symptoms aren't controlled in 2 days with continuous antihistamines
- Your child becomes worse
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
Last Reviewed: 1/19/2009
Last Revised: 6/18/2008
Content Set: Pediatric HouseCalls Online
Copyright 1994-2009 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.