Tip No. 1
Have a non-sedating antihistamine available for the roughest seasonal allergy days. Claritin (loratidine), Zyrtec (cetirizine), and Allegra (fexofenadine) are good allergy remedies and now over-the-counter. They come in liquid, dissolvable reditabs, and pill forms. Plus, they can be used safely even with young children—but check with your health care provider for his/her OK. Use antihistamines if your child has typical spring allergy symptoms such as uncomfortable itching, lots of sneezing, itchy eyes, or hives and a rash after being outdoors. Benadryl (diphenhydramine) can also provide allergy relief, but can be sedating and only lasts for four to six hours—as opposed to the non-sedating types that last 12 to 24 hours.
Tip No. 3
If your child does lot of outdoor sports and is itching, sneezing, with runny eyes during practices or games, ask your doctor about preventive medication or premedication with a non-sedating antihistamine a few hours before anticipated play. If your child has a tendency to wheeze with outdoor sports or contact with windy, grassy, or tree-filled areas, make sure you administer your controller/preventive inhalers daily or before sports for allergy relief.
Tip No. 4
For very itchy eyes, and especially if they swell when rubbed, having anti-itch drops available is a good idea. Over-the-counter OpCon or NapCon or Visine A can add needed moisture to itchy eyes, constrict blood vessels that cause redness, and give needed temporary allergy relief. There are prescription alternatives as well. Itchy eyes can often be helped by applying washcloths dipped in ice water and wrung out. Other alternatives are cucumber slices or wrung out tea bags to alleviate itch.
Tip No. 5
Bug bites, such mosquito and sand flea bites, are very common now—especially because the grass is long and we’re out playing in sandals or bare feet and linger in the grass at dusk. If your child gets super itchy or swollen at a bite site, apply cool compresses or an oral antihistamine. A topical hydrocortisone applied to the itchy bite site (½ or 1%) can give immediate allergy relief. (Do not use topical Benadryl, as it can sensitize the host and eventually cause an allergic reaction.)
Tip No. 6
Heat Rash. Now that our thermometers are going to be rising higher, heat rashes are often confused with seasonal allergy. Heat rashes generally itch, but are more commonly distributed in areas that collect heat, such as the necklines, armpits, backs of knees, and faces. To treat it, get out of the heat, hydrate with cool fluids, dress in breathable clothing, and apply cool cloths to affected areas. Also, cool baking soda or oatmeal baths are soothing to itchy skin. These interventions and a day or two out of the heat usually resolve the majority of heat rashes.
Dr. JJ Levenstein is a board-certified pediatrician, a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the founder of a thriving private practice in Southern California. Recently retired, she continues to serve on the clinical staff at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and has been consistently voted one of the Best Doctors in America from 2003 through 2012. Drawing from her experiences as a pediatrician and a mom, Dr. Levenstein is the cofounder and president of MD Moms—the maker of Baby Silk, which is the first personal care line for babies developed by pediatrician moms.
Seasonal Allergies Begone!
Spring is here! While we love that the weather is finally starting to warm up and our drab winter coats can now be relegated to the back of the closet, we’re not so happy about the fact that pollen counts are at an all-time high—and we are as sneezy and itchy and teary as ever. And with spring activities—such as nature walks and spring cleaning—dominating our lives again, we’re in dire need of allergy remedies and relief. So we reached out to one of our favorite experts: MD Moms’ Dr. JJ Levenstein. If you or your kids suffer from seasonal allergies, never fear. Dr. Levenstein shared some top-notch advice on how to stay comfortable when hit with nasty spring allergy symptoms. Allergies begone!