If your child has been diagnosed with airborne nasal allergies (known as allergic rhinitis), you may be concerned about the effects of some medications. Fortunately, you can attempt to control his or her symptoms naturally. Speak with your child's physician first, then consider the following methods for relieving your child's sneezing and runny or stuffy nose. Here's what to do.
1. Have the Doctor Run an Allergy Test
Before treating your child's nasal symptoms, have him or her tested to determine what exactly is causing the reaction. For instance, your child may be allergic to dust, mold, pet dander, or pollen. Some children are affected by several allergens.
A simple skin prick hypersensitivity test performed by an allergy specialist may help determine what triggers your child's symptoms. Once you are certain of which allergens are affecting your child, you will be better able to effectively manage the issue.
2. Ask the Doctor About Immunotherapy (Allergy Shots)
Immunotherapy may sound like a confusing or daunting task, but it is actually quite simple. The term immunotherapy simply refers to a series of allergy shots. The will administer the shots to help your child build an immunity to the particular allergens he or she is sensitive to. In turn, this increased immunity may reduce the likelihood of future flare-ups.
The severity of your child's allergy symptoms may determine how many shots the doctor gives him or her. The therapy may continue on a weekly basis for a period of several weeks. The doctor will determine the duration.
3. Try a Saline Nasal Rinse
A nasal rinse is a good solution for older children. Using a saline nasal spray or nasal rinse helps rid the sinuses and nasal passages of allergens and mucus. It may help your child to breathe easier. Because saline nasal sprays are drug-free, you don't need to worry about unpleasant side effects. Also, saline sprays may be used as often as needed.
4. Use Air Conditioning During Warm Weather
If seasonal allergies are causing your child's symptoms, limit outdoor time and run an air conditioner frequently. The air filter in the AC will remove possible allergens from the air. Keep windows closed to keep pollen and other allergens out of the house.
5. Soothe Itchy Eyes With a Cool Compress
Discourage your child from rubbing his or her eyes if they itch. Doing so may worsen the symptoms by releasing more histamine from the eyes. Instead, have your child place a cool compress to the irritated eyes, which may bring some relief.
6. Vacuum Frequently (With HEPA Filtration)
To rid your floors and furniture of particulate matter that worsens allergy symptoms, be sure to vacuum frequently. Use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. The HEPA filter will trap those particles that may trigger allergy flare-ups.
Rugs and carpet tend to trap allergens, so you might also consider replacing your rugs and carpeting with tiled or wood floors.
7. Keep Pets Out of Your Child's Bedroom
If pets are making your child sneeze and cough, don't allow the dog, cat, or bird to share a room with your child. The dander from cat and dog hair or bird feathers may become trapped on bedding and worsen your child's symptoms.
8. Runny a Steamy Shower
Turn the hot water on from the shower and let the steam fill the bathroom. To keep the steam from escaping, place a towel under the crack of the door. Next, shut off the water and have your child sit in the bathroom, breathing in the steam. This may unclog your child's stuffy nose and help him or her breathe easier.
Speak with your health care provider if symptoms don't improve by following the above measures. Also, do not stop prescribed treatment unless the doctor advises you to.