Nasal Allergy in Kids: Diagnosing and Treating an “Atypical” Runny Nose

    Nasal allergy in kids

    Nasal allergy differs greatly from all other kinds of runny nose. It has both its own causes and the clinical course. What is an allergic rhinitis in children caused by? What are its symptoms? How to tell colds from allergy? And how to treat it? Let’s understand all these in details.

    What is the difference between cold and allergy?

    In most cases, a runny nose is caused by an acute respiratory viral infection (ARVI), when a child gets a cold. Hence, a runny nose in this situation is infectious.

    But often, both kids and adults have a nasal allergy as an allergic reaction. In this case such rhinitis requires a special treatment drastically different from the one prescribed by doctors to treat cold.

    Symptoms of allergic rhinitis

    Some symptoms of allergic rhinitis are similar to those of cold:

    – nasal congestion;
    – nasal discharges;
    – periodic sneezing;
    – lachrymation;
    – redness around nose;
    – swollen tissues in the nasal sinus.

    However, when you have an allergic rhinitis, you will never notice the following common symptoms of an infectious disease:

    an increased body temperature (as a sign of an acute onset of ARVI);
    a decreased appetite;
    – weakness and malaise;
    – headache and joint pain, etc.

    Once you notice your child has a runny nose, you should first determine its cause – an allergy or an infection. After all, the treatment will depend on the cause.

    Moreover, an allergy test will help you understand the cause of a runny nose. But you should remember: the results will be accurate only if your child is older than 5 years old.

    Allergies are a “child” of modern medicine and excessive hygiene

    Alas, the medical scientists attribute the emergence and an extraordinary spread of allergies to a medical and hygiene breakthroughs, which happened about 150 years ago.

    Until people were protected by vaccines (as well as the mass introduction of various cleaning products) from the greatest number of bacteria and viruses, their immune system was totally busy by solving the problem of survival. It used to protect the body from various kinds of infection and it didn’t have abnormal responses to various stimuli: blossoming plants, food components, pungent smells, etc. Thus, in the Middle Ages cases of allergic reactions were extremely rare.

    But the emergence of a great number of effective vaccines and the rise of a cult of clean have set the immunity of modern kids free. Now it lacks contact with bacteria and mistakes everything that resembles microbes for the microbes, like ragweed pollen. Thus, allergic reactions have occurred to food and pollen, to animal hair and household dust, to sharp smells, and so on.

    Medical progress leads to fewer cases of infectious diseases but, alas, people more often suffer from allergies (especially children do!), the sign of which is often an allergic rhinitis.

    Important facts about nasal allergy in children

    1. If mom or dad is allergic, then the risk that the child will be allergic too is close to 75%.

    2. There’ a regularity: allergic rhinitis in children under 2 years of age is most often caused by an allergen in the house (dust, cleaning products, etc.), but children over 2 years old often “find” a cause of their allergic rhinitis outside – pollen for example.

    3. Allergic rhinitis is often followed by ARVI. The reason is quite clear: viruses damaged the nasal mucosa, and it will response for some time to the stimuli it never reacts to when healthy.

    4. The most common parents’ mistake when treating nasal allergy in kids is the use of vasoconstrictors. Of course, they help to reduce swelling and eliminate nasal congestion for a short time. But they do not fundamentally solve the problem and cause strong unfavorable addiction.

    How to treat nasal allergy in kids

    The most reliable, the fastest and the most effective way to cure an allergic rhinitis is to “part” your child from the allergen that causes such a reaction. If this is possible and you know for sure the cause of the child’s nasal allergy, then you won’t need to do anything else. And your kid will feel better very soon!

    But what can you do if the allergen is unknown or you can’t eliminate it out of the child’s life?

    1. From time to time, you need to wash the allergen off the inside of the nose. Special pharmacy aerosols with saline solution are best suited for this.

    Or you can do this saline solution on your own: dilute 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 liter of boiled water cooled to body temperature. Drop several drops into the kid’s nose (for example, using a pipette) as often as you can. Or the best option is to place the saline solution into a thoroughly washed aerosol and use it as a nasal spray to wash the allergen out of the nose. It’s impossible to overdose the saline.

    2. Your actions when you come home are following.

    – You need to free your house from the allergen – close all the windows and use your air conditioning to cool the air in the house. Always change your air filter on time.

    – Having entered the house, try to undress in the hall and leave your clothing there. It is very important that you make a door between the place where you live and the place where you can change your clothes.

    – Having undressed, immediately head to the bathroom and take a shower and wash your hair to wash away pollen. If you don’t do that, you’ll inhale pollen throughout the rest of the day and night.

    – Using saline solution, rinse your throat and wash the allergen out of your nose with the help of the aerosol. Wash your eyes and hands. Use the solution every second hour – it is quite effective, and thus you have an opportunity to peacefully spend the evening and the night.

    – Change the cabin air filter in your car on time as well; don’t open the windows while being in the car. The seats should be leather because pollen won’t be collected there unlike the fabrique seats. If you have to use public transport, then you will breathe pollen there and doctor yourself at home.

    3. As for the use of the antihistamines, only doctor can prescribe them after he examines your child appropriately.

    4. Moreover, the following simple actions will help to treat rhinitis of all types (including allergic one):

    – maintain both humidity and a cool temperature in your kid’ room;

    walk frequently in the fresh air (but not in case your child has nasal allergy – pollen is outside at this moment);

    – do a regular wet cleaning in the house (use only liquid cleaners and in extremely small amounts);

    – use an air purifier.

    How to prevent nasal allergy

    As you’ve already read above, the excessive cleanliness in the house (when all surfaces are washed and disinfected several times a day) contributes to the development of allergies in your child. So, parents’ more robust approach to life itself is the prevention of allergic rhinitis in children.

    Accept the fact that the child from birth has to face a certain number of bacteria and viruses on a daily basis. And those sterile conditions in the house that some parents try to create for their child, harm his health much more than frequent ARVI or other diseases do.

    And besides all these you should:

    – use only liquid cleaners and detergents (aerosols and powders contribute much more to the onset of nasal allergy).

    – avoid dust accumulators in the kid’s room – carpets, large plush toys, upholstered furniture, etc.

    – ventilate the room often (for example, while you are walking outside with the child) since dry and warm air itself (while not being an allergen) can cause nasal congestion and an increased mucus production.

    – completely eliminate your kid’s contact with tobacco smoke and the smell of chlorine – a kid’s body (even if the child is not allergic) responses to these stimuli in the form of nasal congestion and allergic rhinitis.

    – if you’ve ever thought about having a dog, it’s time to do that! The dog will involuntarily bring some bacteria home, and if your child contacts with a dog from the very birth, the risks he will have allergies and allergic rhinitis is reduced.

    In any case, once you notice your child has a runny nose, be sure to visit a doctor to find the cause. Medicine doesn’t know how to completely treat allergic rhinitis but it can make your life easier.

    And does your child have allergic rhinitis? Share your stories how you deal with it. Your experience and tips can significantly help other parents!


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