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Springtime = Allergy time

tissuesSpring is here… the groundhog foretold. Are you prepared?

Springtime signals new buds on the trees, flowers blooming, and grass renewing. For gardeners, it is a wonderful time of the year. For those with allergies, it may be a dreaded time of year.

Allergic rhinitis presents with a variety of symptoms that include sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, itchy ears, scratchy throats, post-nasal drainage, cough and/or wheezing. All or a few of the symptoms usually present without fever at the onset, and seem to worsen after spending time outdoors or having the windows in the house open.

If symptoms persist without fever, the following suggestions may help:

  1. Take a bath/shower immediately after returning from the outdoors.
  2. Keep windows closed even though the cool temperate breeze may be tempting.
  3. Air purifiers offer some help within a smaller room in the house.
  4. Carpet cleaning helps to remove dust and dirt trapped within the carpet.
  5. Routine nasal irrigation with saline helps to remove allergens and prevent nose bleeds.
  6. Antihistamines such as Benadryl, Claritin, and Zyrtec are safe for children ages 2yr and older. If your child is younger, please contact our office prior to administering antihistamines. Benadryl is usually sedating, and recommended mostly in the evenings only.
  7. Occasionally, a medicated nasal spray is recommended as well. Nasal sprays include nasal steroids, nasal antihistamines, or a combination of both. Although some nasal sprays are now over the counter, we recommend that you call the office to ask if a medicated nasal spray is necessary for your child. We are happy to assist you with an appointment or a recommendation.

Even when all the above suggestions have been followed, your child may continue with worsening symptoms. If a fever develops and lingers for more than 72 hours, a secondary infection may have started. Common secondary infections may include ear infections, sinus infections, and pneumonia. For these types of infections, an office appointment is usually recommended.

While not everyone in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolis has allergies, everyone can agree that the lack of winter frost and generous rainfall last year is likely to promote a healthy ecosystem of trees, wildflowers, and grass this spring. If you find yourself reaching for the tissue box more often over the next several weeks, it is possible that you or your child may be developing allergies. If not, then count yourself the lucky ones – and enjoy the outdoors on behalf of all allergy sufferers!

Article written by Dr. Elizabeth Leon