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Offered by Dawn Dycus, MD, Brighton Pediatrics

April showers bring May flowers! While those flowers are beautiful, for some it means the start of spring allergies. Usually starting in March and lasting through May, spring allergies have the potential to make life miserable. Allergies can affect children as well as adults. Seasonal allergies can start to affect children as early as 2 or 3 years old, but sometimes do not develop until later in childhood. Common symptoms of allergies include runny nose or nasal congestion, sneezing, sniffling, throat clearing, nose rubbing, and itchy red eyes.

Many allergy symptoms overlap with cold symptoms. Sometimes it can be hard to tell which is which! However, there are some key differences to distinguish between the two. Despite the misnaming of “hay fever”, allergies never cause an actual fever. They also do not cause body or muscle aches either. Colds are more likely to cause coughing and sore throat, but sometimes allergies cause these too. Cold symptoms will resolve after 1-2 weeks, whereas allergy symptoms will be chronic and persistent, usually until treatment is started. Spring allergies also develop at the same time each year, whereas colds can strike at any time.

Several types of treatments for allergies exist. Some are prescribed and others are over-the-counter. Mainstays of allergy treatment include nasal saline rinses, oral antihistamines (Claritin, Zyrtec), allergy nasal sprays (Flonase, Nasacort), and eye drops to treat red itchy eyes. If you think your child has allergies, it is helpful to schedule an appointment with their pediatrician to discuss treatment options. For further information, please visit our website at www.brightonpeds.com.

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Brighton Pediatrics