Allergic rhinitis in children
Sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, and congestion are all symptoms of allergy and are very common in children, especially preschoolers and teens. Allergic rhinitis could be seasonal, which is commonly known as hay fever. In the case of perennial allergic rhinitis, your child will suffer from the symptoms throughout the year.
What causes allergic rhinitis in children?
Put merely; allergic rhinitis is one form of allergy. When an external allergen enters the body, be it through nose, mouth, or physical contact- the body releases histamines (chemicals) to get rid of the foreign particles. It is then when allergic rhinitis is triggered, leading to symptoms like coughing, sneezing, runny nose, itching, etc.
What allergens are responsible for the allergic reaction?
If your child is sensitive and has this problem throughout the year, then coming in contact with dust, pet dander, insects like mites, cobwebs, etc., is most likely to break out allergic rhinitis. Seasonal allergies are usually caused by pollen from flowers, weeds, grass, trees, mold, and fungi, especially during rainy seasons. Apart from those, allergic rhinitis can also occur from drugs and food sensitivity.
What are the symptoms of allergic rhinitis in children?
Your child will typically suffer from
- Runny nose
- Bouts of sneezing
- Itching in nose, ears, and throat
- Red and watery eyes
- Blocked or congestion in the nose
Children with perennial rhinitis experience fatigue and weakness due to the symptoms mentioned above, bothering them always. They also face difficulty in breathing. If some drugs or food has triggered the allergic rhinitis, then skin rashes or eczema might even show up.
Complications of allergic rhinitis in children
- Makes asthma worse
- Leads to the sinusitis infection
- Nose bleeds and glues ear
- Life-threatening anaphylactic reaction
Diagnosis of allergic rhinitis in children
The pediatrician will evaluate the symptoms and perform a physical examination to look for signs like swollen tissues around the nose, dark circles under eyes, etc. He will also enquire about any family history of allergies. Let your doctor know if you suspect anything that your kid might be allergic to.
For further investigation, a blood test and an allergic skin test would be suggested. The doctor might also perform an endoscopy of the nose to view the internal condition.
Treatment of allergic rhinitis
The treatment depends on the severity of the infection. The doctor won’t prescribe any medicines in case of a very mild allergy. In most cases, allergic rhinitis in children is treated with OTC antihistamines, non-sedative antihistamines, nasal decongestants, or nasal sprays. Make sure you stick to the dosing prescribed by your doctor.
In severe cases of allergy or perennial allergic rhinitis, immune shots or immunotherapy involving injections of specific allergens for three to five years course may be recommended.
Precautions to avoid allergic rhinitis in children
The only way to reduce the chances of allergy is- protecting your child against allergens. Make sure your house is dust, insects, mold, and mites proof. For your child’s health, you have to consider not petting dogs, cats, birds, or any other breed. Cover his/her nose and mouth with a scarf to protect from outdoor allergens. Educate your kids about the necessity of hygienic habits like washing hands with antiseptic before eating and after returning from outside.