Chronic cough? Sore throat? Sneezing? It might be allergies...

Over the last few weeks, my kids all sound like they are sick.  Coughing and sniffling from one.  Hoarseness and sneezing from another.  Another one keeps rubbing his eyes.  My own face and nose feel like someone has decided to fill my sinuses with wet tissues.  That's how I know that the Fall season must be on its way!

Hay fever or allergic rhinitis is very common and can develop at any time.  Most children do not develop allergies to environmental such as pollen, grasses, molds, and trees, until around 3-4 years of age.  Right now at the end of August/beginning of September, ragweed is abundant in our area as well as grasses.  Anyone who is allergic to these is likely to be feeling the effects of their allergies now. 

Common symptoms of allergies include sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, occasional cough or sore throat.  If you suspect that your child may have allergies, you could try some over-the-counter allergy remedies for children.  Children's Zyrtec and Children's Claritin are readily available at stores.  Recently there were some recalls of name brand versions of these, so you may have to get store-brand or generic versions.

If your child has frequent cough, trouble breathing, fevers, or appears sick, then it is less likely to be allergies and you should call your child's doctor immediately.  Also, if your child is very young (under age 2), it is less likely to be related to allergies and you should call your doctor.

A good place to check to see what the pollen and allergen levels are in your area is at the website:  On the "red zone" days, it's a good idea to avoid outdoor activities if your child is allergic to outdoor pollens.  Reducing exposure to whatever your child is allergic to is the best way to avoid feeling bad from allergies.