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Hay Fever (Nasal Allergies)

Disponible En Espanol

Care at Home

  • ALLERGY MEDICINES:   * Allergy medicines are called antihistamines. They are the drug of choice for nasal allergies. * They will help control the symptoms. These include a runny nose, nasal itching and sneezing. * Benadryl or Chlorpheniramine (CTM) products are helpful. No prescription is needed. They need to be given every 6 to 8 hours. See Dose Tables. * The bedtime dosage is especially important for healing the lining of the nose. * The key to control is to give allergy meds every day during pollen season.
  • EYE ALLERGIES:   * For eye symptoms, wash off the face and eyelids. This will remove pollen or any other allergic substances. * Then put a cold wet washcloth on the eyes. * Most often, an allergy medicine given by mouth will help the eye symptoms. Sometimes, eye drops are also needed. * ANTIHISTAMINE EYE DROPS - KETOTIFEN (1st Choice): * Ketotifen eye drops are a safe and effective product. Examples are Zaditor or Alaway. No prescription is needed. * Dose: 1 drop every 12 hours. * For severe allergies, use ketotifen eyedrops every day during pollen season. This will give the best control. * ANTIHISTAMINE/VASOCONSTRICTIVE EYEDROPS (2nd Choice): * Dose: 1 drop every 8 hours * Ask your pharmacist to suggest a brand. Some brand names are Naphcon A, Opcon A, or Visine A. * Do not use for over 5 days. (Reason: Will cause red eyes from rebound effect). * Downside: Doesn't work as well as Ketotifen eye drops.
  • WASH POLLEN OFF BODY: * Remove pollen from the hair and skin with shampoo and a shower. This is especially important before bedtime.
  • WHAT TO EXPECT: * Since pollen allergies recur each year, learn to control the symptoms.
  • CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF: * Symptoms are not better in 2 days after starting allergy medicine * Your child becomes worse
  • WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: * Hay fever is very common. It happens in about 15% of children. * Nose and eye symptoms can be controlled by giving allergy medicines. * Pollens are in the air every day during pollen season. So, allergy meds must be given daily. They need to used for 2 months or longer during pollen season. * Here is some care advice that should help.
  • POLLEN - HOW TO REDUCE THE POLLEN YOUR CHILD BREATHES: * Pollen is carried in the air. * Keep windows closed in the home, at least in your child's bedroom. * Keep windows closed in car. Turn the air conditioner on recirculate. * Avoid window fans or attic fans. They pull in pollen. * Try to stay indoors on windy days. Reason: The pollen count is much higher when it's dry and windy. * Avoid playing with the outdoor dog. Reason: Pollen collects in the fur. * POLLEN COUNT: You can get your daily pollen count from www.pollen.com.Just type in your zip code.
  • CETIRIZINE (ZYRTEC) OR LORATADINE (CLARITIN): * Loratadine and Cetirizine are long-acting allergy medicines. No prescription is needed. * Advantage: Causes less sedation than older allergy meds such as Benadryl and chlorpheniramine. They are long-acting and last up to 24 hours. * DOSE: * AGE 2- 6 years old, discuss with your child's doctor. If approved, give 2.5 mg (2.5 ml or 1/2 teaspoon) of liquid syrup. Use once daily in the morning. * AGE 6-12 years old, give 5 mg chewable tablet once daily in morning. * AGE: 12 years and older, give 10 mg tablet once daily in morning. * Downside: Doesn't control hay fever symptoms as well as older allergy medicines. Also, sometimes will have breakthrough symptoms before 24 hours. If that happens, you can give a single dose of Benadryl or CTM. * Cost: Ask the pharmacist for a store brand. Reason: Costs less than Claritin or Zyrtec brand.
  • NASAL WASHES TO WASH OUT POLLEN: * Use saline nose drops or spray. This helps to wash out pollen or to loosen up dried mucus. If you don't have saline, you can use warm tap water. * STEP 1: Put 3 drops in each nostril. * STEP 2: Blow each nostril out while closing off the other nostril. Then, do the other side. * STEP 3: Repeat nose drops and blowing until the discharge is clear. * How often: Do nasal washes when your child can't breathe through the nose. Also, do them if the nose is very itchy. * Saline nose drops or spray can be bought in any drugstore. No prescription is needed. * Saline nose drops can also be made at home. Use 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) of table salt. Stir the salt into 1 cup (8 ounces or 240 ml) of warm water. * Other option: Use a warm shower to loosen mucus. Breathe in the moist air, then blow each nostril.


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  • Not a Substitute - The information and materials in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker should not be used as a substitute for the care and knowledge that your physician can provide to you.
  • Supplement - The information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker are meant to supplement the information that you obtain from your physician. If there is a disagreement between the information presented herein and what your physician has told you -- it is more likely that your physician is correct. He or she has the benefit of knowing your child's medical problems.
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