It’s a gorgeous time of year when things are abloom. Many of us suffer from irritation and allergies to these months as pollens and particles float around and trigger allergic response.  Not so beautiful when our families (over)react to pollen. Thing is, there’s also the fact that cold season isn’t quite over and the exact cause of that runny nose your child is dealing with may be hard to decipher. One hint that it’s allergies and not a cold: do you, your spouse or any of your other children suffer from seasonal allergies? Unfortunately if so, there’s a 25% chance your child will too. That said, the likelihood more than doubles when both parents deal with allergies on a seasonal basis. Watch the video above for tips on telling the difference between hay fever & the common cold and when to be on the lookout for the former.

5-13 allergies

Allergies Or A Cold This Time Of Year

  • This is common: 1 in 5 Americans have allergies at some point in their life so allergies and over-reacting immune systems are a part of many families. Hay fever is the most common allergy in America and can easily be treated with avoidance to allergens (avoid parks when irritating pollens around and/or take a shower when you get home from the park and wipe those pollen allergens off!), OTC medications, and sometimes additional prescription medications. Most children with hay fever only need allergy medicines during seasonal bursts but some children benefit from year-long treatment because of allergies to multiple things. Here’s more on OTC medications used to treat allergies.
  • Often allergy symptoms change with age; allergy symptoms can accelerate during young childhood but then often subside and diminish as you age into adulthood. Talk with your child’s nurse, PA, or physician if you’re concerned about their symptoms or their trend in symptoms as they age.
  • Read medication labels for ingredients in allergy medications. Use the lowest dose possible to treat symptoms and talk with your child’s clinician if any questions about dosing. If your child is under age 6, check in at the physician’s office before doing a trial of an OTC antihistamine. If over-the-counter medications don’t improve symptoms or suffering, don’t panic — if the cause of symptoms are allergic there are prescriptions and many environmental changes you can make to improve your child’s discomfort.

5-13 know your OTCsThis post was written in partnership with In exchange for our ongoing partnership helping families understand how to use (and dispose of!) OTC (over-the-counter) medicines safely they have made a contribution to Digital Health at Seattle Children’s for our work in innovation. I like the Know Your OTCs tagline, “Take your healthcare personally.” You can follow @KnowYourOTCs #KnowYourOTCs for more info on health and wellness.