It’s allergy season! That time of year when itchy eyes, runny noses, and sneezing can get the best of you. And your children! Do you think your child suffers from seasonal allergies? Have you noticed a pattern of symptoms every spring and/or fall of the year, lasting more than a few weeks? Not only can seasonal allergies cause runny noses, congestion, coughing, sneezing, and watery eyes…allergies can interfere with sleep, increase fatigue, and alter mood.
If you think your child may have seasonal allergies, here are some things to try:
1. Avoidance if possible. While you may not be able to leave the state to get away from allergens, pay attention to some details. If your child seems worse every time the grass is mowed, try and keep them indoors with the windows shut during this process and keep them inside for at least 30-60minutes after. If your child is worse in the fall, it may be molds. They should avoid playing in wet leaf piles!
2. Use air conditioners when possible, for suspected outdoor allergens, to help filter the air and keep allergens outdoors.
3. Try to shower or bathe your child before bed if they have been playing outside during allergy season.
4. If your child’s symptoms are persistent, it may be safe to try an over the counter antihistamine, such as Claritin or Zyrtec. Generic versions are safe, and these medications are approved for daily use in kids ages 2 and up. Dosing can be found on the bottles, but feel free to call if you have questions.
If your child has tried over the counter medications and are still suffering from allergy symptoms, it is time for a visit to see us! We have other options (nasal sprays, oral medications, etc) that may be appropriate in managing your child’s seasonal allergies, and we want to help them feel better!
In a recent pediatric journal article about teen dating, they pointed out the frequency of “abusive” behavior. The writers indicated that there is a high rate of verbal abuse, stalking behavior, coercion to behave certain ways, and coercion for sex and unprotected sex. How sad is this, that our children’s first experience of dating can be so pathologic. One wonders if they even realize how wrong it is? TV has so many “reality” shows that depict just these types of rude, uncaring, angry and at times aggressive behavior, that teens might feel this is the way relationships naturally start out. Moreover, if they do get into these types of relationships and realize they are wrong, they may not have the experience or wisdom to know how to get out of these relationships. “Making a scene” could get them on the outs with their group, or they may feel at risk to get away from the other person. We, as parents, need to be proactive with our teens. As we watch TV with our children, and see actions on the show that are wrong, we must point them out and discuss them with our kids. We need to talk with them about what they are seeing in their school and amongst their friends, and ask them how they would handle certain situations or how they might come to the aid of a friend in need. They need to know that they should not feel controlled or manipulated by their friends whether in a dating situation or within their group. Parents should stay tuned to their Facebook page, text messages, grades and emotional well being. Mostly, keep the conversations going about what is happening. This needs to start early so they continue to feel comfortable and safe with their dialogues with you, their parents.
Does My Child Need a Flu Shot
My family has not had a flu shot in the past and we have all been fine. Why should we get one now?
We hear this comment regularly when we offer the vaccine to our patients. Let me offer an
explanation. As physicians, we see illnesses all of the time and most are minor, self-limited or respond
to a little medical intervention. For this, we are grateful. There are however, a small percent of
children who get more seriously ill, who end up in the hospital and/or who get a serious pneumonia.
Gratefully, we almost never see the really small number who do even worse. But they are out there;
they happen and not necessarily to sicker children. These are the things we hope to prevent. Yes, it
takes a lot of immunizing children to possibly reduce even the small numbers, but we do not want any
of our patients in that situation if we can prevent it. It is like wearing a seat belt in a car. Hopefully, you
will never be in a car accident. At some point, you might be in a minor accident and you saved yourself
some minor injury by wearing your seat belt. But you might someday be in a real wreck and you will
praise yourself for keeping yourself and your kids buckled in. We hope to prevent the medical ‘wreck’
with a simple immunization. Immunizing our kids protects them and those around them. It helps stop
the spread of the illness. So please, give the flu shot a second thought!
Does My Child Need an Antibiotic?
My three year old child has had a cough, congestion and runny nose for one week. He had a fever to 101° for 2 days but now it has been running 99° - 100°. He is drinking OK but not eating much. He coughs all night.
Most common colds are caused by viruses. Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections not viral infections. There are no treatments to cure a common cold. Most of these children benefit from symptomatic care and get better on their own. Some children develop secondary infections, such as ear infections, bronchitis, sinus infections or pneumonia. If your child is getting worse after being ill for over a week or is running higher fevers as the illness progresses, we would want to see them in the office.
The physicians at ABC Pediatrics are happy to see your child anytime you are concerned about their health but an antibiotic may not always be indicated based on what the doctor believes is causing the illness. Vaporizers/humidifiers, Tylenol® or Motrin®, rest and plenty of fluids are always great places to start in helping your child feel better!
We have pulled together a number of resources that might be of interest to you:
Center for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov)
American Academy of Pediatricians (www.aap.org)
Kent County Health Department
American Association of Poison Control (www.aapcc.org/DNN)
Grand Rapids Poison Control (800) 222-1222
Welcome Home Baby - Kent County
Michigan WIC Program
United Way 211 Community Resources
Needy Meds (www.needymeds.org)
Fit Kids 360 Program and Class Calendar