Allergies – Eyes, ears, nose, skin
Sneezy, stuffy nose (a.k.a. allergic rhinitis)
Sneezing, nasal congestion and itching can be caused by seasonal allergies (e.g. pollen), or perennial environmental allergens that surround us every day (e.g. dust mites). Medications that can help decrease the symptoms of “allergy nose” include over the counter or prescription nasal steroids or antihistamine sprays.
Itchy, watery, red eyes (a.k.a. allergic conjunctivitis)
Itchy red eyes with extra tears can be caused by seasonal allergies (e.g. pollen) or perennial environmental allergens that surround us every day (e.g. dust mites). Medications that can help with “allergy eye” symptoms include over-the-counter Zyrtec or Claritin, Zaditor eye drops, or prescription eye drops.
Dry, itchy, red, scaly skin (a.k.a eczema)
Eczema is a very common skin condition affecting many infants and young children, as well as up to 30 percent of adults in the U.S. Babies usually develop shiny, dry, red patches on their cheeks, while older infants, children and adults have patches of dry, itchy, red and sometimes scaly skin in the folds of their elbows, knees and on the torso. Eczema can become infected with bacteria, causing it to appear yellow, crusty or oozing.
Uncomplicated eczema can be treated or prevented with daily moisturizing, using over-the-counter products, such as Eucerin or Aquaphor, especially after bathing. Flare-ups of redness and itching sometimes can be eliminated by over-the-counter 1 percent hydrocortisone, used twice daily for a few days (never beneath the diaper). If eczema appears infected or does not improve with these over-the-counter remedies, please call Eugene Pediatric Associates and schedule an appointment.
Allergies and ear infections – Are they related?
More research is needed to answer this question, as some studies have found a link between food allergies and ear infections, while others have not. In the vast majority of cases of ear infection under age 2, the illness was preceded by an upper respiratory infection (the common cold), which would indicate that food allergy is not a primary cause of ear infection.
It stands to reason, however, that any process that inflames the Eustacian tube responsible for draining the middle ear may predispose a child to ear infection. Allergies can lead to Eustacian tube inflammation. Thus, if your child has frequent ear infections, it doesn’t hurt to try a diet that eliminates the major food allergens. Elimination diets carry inherent risks of poor nutrition, so please talk to us at Eugene Pediatric Associates before taking this approach.
How can I lessen my child’s exposure to allergens?
If your child suffers from outdoor allergies in the spring and early summer, it may help to have him wash his face and hands when he comes inside. Closing windows also decreases exposure. Chronic symptoms related to indoor allergens (e.g. animal dander, mold or dust, can be improved with the use of a special air filter, mattress enclosures and removal of rugs and soft objects from your child’s bedroom.