Kids & Allergies

Pediatrician, Dr. George Bengston, had advice and tips for parents trying to decipher whether their child is suffering from a cold or allergy.

Allergy Review:
- Allergy is the immune system reacting in an adverse way to a trigger (allergen)
- Allergy most commonly affect respiratory tract, but can also affect GI tract
- Allergy is not an infection(of whiihc fever is acardinal signal)
- Allergy is also not Vasomotor rhinitis (sort of a "sweaty nose" syndrome, not true allergy)

Allergic triggers:
 Common triggers include dust, mold, grasses, foods
 It can take a while for the body to become sensitive to triggers
 Common sequence of allergies developing during life:
 2nd 6 months of life: dust, dust mites, mold
 3rd 6 months of life: foods
 4th 6 months of life: outdoor allergies
 Seasonality
 Spring symptoms = trees
 Summer = grass, weeds
 Fall = ragweed, leaves
 Winter = dustmites, mold, animal dander (these can be all year)

Treatment options:
 Antihistamines - non-drowsy forms available OTC
 Nasal sprays - OTC forms sometimes make problems worse
 Allergy testing - skin testing vs blood tests
 Allergy "shots" - good for allergens that are hard to avoid

Prevention:
 Dust containment
 Windows closed
 Air conditioners/furnaces/filters clean
 Humidifier
 Pets - consider a tortoise? At least keep them clean and out of sleeping area

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