It can be difficult for parents to tell whether their child has a cold or hay fever, but there are ways to distinguish between the two, experts say.
“Runny, stuffy or itchy nose, sneezing, coughing, fatigue, and headaches can all be symptoms of both allergies and colds, but when parents pay close attention to minor details they will be able to tell the difference,” Dr. Michelle Lieri, a pediatric allergist at Cincinnati Childrens’s Hospital Medical Center, said in a hospital news release.
“Children who have springtime or fall allergies have much more itching of their noses; they often have fits of sneezing and usually rub their noses in an upward motion,” Lieri explained. “They also complain about an itchy, scratchy throat or itchy eyes, whereas with a cold, they don’t.”
Nasal discharge is usually clear if someone has allergies and yellowish if someone has a cold, she added.
If children have seasonal allergies, Lieri offers the following tips to help ease symptoms:
Keep home and car windows closed and change air conditioner filters every month.
Have children wash their face, hands and hair after they’ve been outside, they should change their clothes. The clothing should be washed to remove pollen and other allergens.
Limit children’s outdoor activity in the early morning, when pollen counts are higher.
Make sure children are taking their allergy medicine daily during pollen season.
I agree with most of this information. I disagree with giving children daily allergy medication.
Allergic reactions are usually from a combination of inhaled season substances and food sensitivities. The combination of allergens ramps up the immune system.
Wheat, dairy, soy, and corn are the four most common food sensitivities, in order. Try eliminating them one at a time to see which one(s) seem to cause the most symptoms.
Allergic reactions promote excess Th2 cell production by the thymus, depressing Th1 cell production. This leaves the body open to potential infection as well as creating seasonal allergy symptoms.
Echinacea modulates the immune system, helping to restore the Th1-Th2 cell balance. I recommend daily supplementation of echinacea, a least through the allergy season, if not all year.
Supplementation of folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12 can reduce excess histamine production. Please review three of my early blogs “Vitamin B12 – Are You Deficient?” posted on October 9, 2013, “Folic Acid” posted on March 15, 2014, and “vitamin B6” posted on March 12, 2014.
The Bottom Line:
Look for signs to distinguish allergy from infection. Be proactive using echinacea, some of the B vitamins and dietary restrictions to reduce allergy symptoms in both you and your children.
Source: May 5, 2015 National Institutes of Health
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