medications that are used to control the
symptoms of allergic rhinitis include decongestants,
antihistamines and steroids. If symptoms
are mild, you can use over-the-counter medications
as needed. Avoid using topical decongestants
(such as Afrin) for more than 3-5 days at
a time or frequent use of over-the-counter
allergy medicines with antihistamines, as
they can cause drowsiness and poor performance
Keep in mind that Claritin
is now over-the-counter and it is also available
in the generic forms Alavert and loratadine.
Zyrtec is also over-the-counter, and is
known generically as Cetirizine.
nasal sprays (steroids)
Topical steroids, such as
Nasonex, Flonase, and Nasacort (generically
fluticasone, usual dose is 1-2 squirts in
each nostril once each day). If your child's
symptoms are well controlled, then you can
decrease the dose of the nasal steroid that
you are using for 1-2 weeeks and then consider
trying your child off of it and see how
they do. Continue the antihistamine for
1-2 months or until your child's allergy
season is over.
Singulair is another medicine
for kids with allergies. Although previously
just used as a preventative medication for
kids with asthma, it is now also approved
to treat allergies. It is available as a
chewable tablet and is approved for kids
over age one.
To be effective, your child
should be using these medications every
day. They will not work as well if just
used on as-needed basis. They are in general
very safe with few side effects, but the
nasal steroids have been associated with
growth suppression when used in high doses.
This is, however, rare, and your pediatrician
will monitor your child's growth to make
sure this does not happen.
Red, itchy eyes can be treated
with over-the-counter eye drops; either
Alaway or Zaditor drops both work well.
For seasonal allergies, it
is best to start using these medications
just before your child's season begins and
then continue the medications every day
all through the season. For perennial allergies,
your child may need to take these medicines
Your child may also benefit
from nasal irrigations using saline nose
drops 1-3 times a day. This will help the
These steps help to control
common allergens, including dust mites,
mold, animal dander and pollens.
°Get rid of dust collectors,
including heavy drapes, upholstered furniture,
& stuffed animals.
°Use an airtight, allergy-proof plastic
cover on all mattresses, pillows and boxsprings.
°Wash all bedding and stuffed animals
in hot water every 7-14 days.
°If you must keep pets in the house,
at least keep them out of your child's
bedroom and wash your pet each week to
remove surface allergens.
°Avoid exposing your child to molds
by keeping him away from damp basements
or water-damaged areas of your home (check
°Remove carpeting if possible.
°Vacuum frequently (when your child
is not in the room, since many of the
things that cause allergies are small
enough to go back out of the vacuum cleaner
°Cover air vents with filters.
°Avoid the use of ceiling fans.
°For seasonal allergies, keep windows
closed in the car and home to avoid exposure
to pollens and limit outdoor activities
when pollen counts are highest (early
morning for spring-time tree pollens,
afternoon and early evening for summer
grasses, and in the middle of the day
for ragweed in the fall).
°Consider using a HEPA filter to control
airborne allergens (those only work if
what you are allergic to is airborne,
which doesn't include dust mites and mold).
°Keep indoor humidity low, since dust
mites and mold increase in high humidity.
°Provide a smoke-free environment
for youur child (it is not enough to simply
°Nightly shower ot bath to wash hair.