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Ahhh-Choo! It's Allergy Season!


Even in California, we do get some seasonal variations for environmental allergies, known as allergic rhinitis (allergic nose) and allergic conjunctivitis (allergic eyes). March through June (spring) and then September through November (fall) are two seasons when many patients experience symptoms of allergies. However, those who suffer from sensitivity to indoor allergens (ex. dust mites, mold, cockroaches, pet dander) may have symptoms all year long. Seasonal allergies can also worsen symptoms of both asthma and eczema. Symptoms of allergies include:


Allergic rhinitis:

  • Itchy nose, often leading to frequent rubbing of the nose and development of a horizontal crease across the nose

  • Frequent clear runny nose and nose congestion

  • Difficulty breathing through the nose when outdoors or before bed

  • Itchy, scratchy throat

  • Sinus congestion and/or pressure

  • Frequent headaches

  • Frequent sneezing or dry cough


Allergic conjunctivitis:

  • Itchy, burning sensation of the eyes

  • Redness of the sclera (whites of the eyes) and/or conjunctivae (underneath the eyelids)

  • Swelling of the upper and lower eyelids

  • Clear, watery eye discharge

Here are some helpful tips for your child to survive this allergy season:


Allergic rhinitis:

  • Loratadine or cetirizine once daily x 2 weeks straight, longer if helpful.

  • Nasal saline sprays/rinses 2-3 times day.

  • Nose steroid spray each nostril before bed (after rinsing the nose with saline).

  • Wash face/hands with cold water after coming in from outdoors.

  • Remove/change clothing after coming indoors.

  • Wash bedding at least once weekly and avoid lying/rolling in bed while in “outside” clothes.

Allergic conjunctivitis:

  • Try artificial tears 3-4x/day to "wash out" allergens from the eyes. Refrigerating the eye drops may be more soothing.

  • Start over the counter allergy eye drop 1 drop both eyes 2x/day. prescription strength eye drops are also available. Refrigerating the eye drops may be more soothing.

  • Loratadine or cetirizine once daily x 2 weeks straight, longer if helpful.

  • Wear caps/hats with wide brim to "catch" the allergens.

  • Wash face/hands with cold water after coming in from outdoors.

  • Remove/change clothing after coming indoors.

  • Wash bedding at least once weekly and avoid lying/rolling in bed while in “outside” clothes.

  • Allergy testing is generally not necessary if your child responds to the above regimen as there are no "cures" for allergies but let me know if not improving over the next 2 weeks. Sometimes finding out what your child is allergic to may allow you to modify his/her environment better.


Other Helpful Tips:

  • Use pillow and mattress zippered dust mite protectors (available at Target & Bed, Bath, and Beyond or on the internet).

  • Stay off of carpet and rugs or remove them altogether from the bedroom if possible (dust mites).

  • Remove curtains and replace with blinds you can dust (dust mites).

  • Take shoes off before coming inside.

  • Take outside clothing off in laundry/bathroom area (away from sleeping area) and avoid laying in or rolling around the bed in "outside" clothes.

  • Keep bedroom door closed to inhibit pets from going into the bedroom.

  • Shower at night to rinse off pollens, pet dander, etc.

  • Do not sleep with stuffed animals (dust mites) or wash them weekly.

  • Wash hands well after petting any animals (animal dander).

  • Allergy testing is generally not necessary if your child responds to the above regimen as there are no "cures" for allergies but may be considered in those who are unresponsive to standard interventions. Sometimes finding out what your child is allergic to may allow you to modify his/her environment better.



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