Its so hot out currently that one can break a sweat just writing a blog so let’s keep this brief. Soon we’ll be entering fall ragweed allergy season. A recent review article in the British Medical Journal discovered that there is great variability in labelling indications and ages for most antihistamines, many of these drugs have not been adequately evaluated in children and their labeled cause and age indications are not based on clinical trials in children.
In other words, we are using most allergy drugs in our children based only on studies performed on adults plus little more than guesswork in how much should be used and even whether these medicines actually help children or relieve their symptoms or not .
This is important because we must remember that these drugs are far from being risk free. Commonly seen side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
- Restlessness or moodiness (in some children)
- Trouble peeing or not being able to pee
- Blurred vision
So please be sure to think twice before administering anti-histamines to your children. As I so often remind my patients: the presence of a symptom does not indicate the necessity of medications. If your child is mostly eating, sleeping, and playing normally, without complaints of pain or discomfort, without disruption of school performance, then I think oral medication is not needed in that situation.
Here are effective non-medical interventions to use for your child’s allergies:
- Follow weather reports. Mostly indoor play on high pollen days.
- Change clothes upon returning indoors.
- Shower frequently to remove pollen from skin and hair.
- Keep windows closed.
- Liberal air conditioner use if possible. Change AC filters regularly. Leave windows open briefly when turning on AC to allow clearing of any mold or dust out of the unit.
- Consider using a face mask in the morning and on windy days.
- Remove leaves from yard and gutters.
- Do not hang laundry outside to dry but rather use a drier only.
- Moderate eye symptoms can be managed with topical drops like visine, murine, or ketotifen (“zaditor”).
Please give me a call to discuss your child’s specific needs. Thanks for following.