Suspect Your Sniffling Child Has Spring Allergies? Look for This Sign

Kids get seasonal allergies, too
Child outside in nature rubbing her eyes

Hello, spring! The temperature is getting warmer — and many people have started sneezing, rubbing their eyes and blowing their nose on repeat.

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Spring can spell misery for allergy sufferers, and that goes for kids, too.

It may be easy to recognize your own allergy symptoms, but it can be tough for even the most seasoned parent to tell the difference between allergies and a cold in kids.

One telltale sign that a child has seasonal allergies? They’re rubbing their face, says allergist Sandra Hong, MD.

“They’re rubbing their eyes and they’re rubbing their nose,” she says. “Sometimes kids will get this little tiny line, right on their nose, and it’s because they actually push up on it. So you’ll see a little crease there, just from all of the rubbing of their nose that they do.”

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Children who have allergies can feel quite miserable, and their symptoms can keep them from being able to concentrate in school or when playing sports.

Most children with seasonal allergies will sound stuffy and congested. Parents might also notice that their child is eating with their mouth open because they can’t breathe through their nose effectively, Dr. Hong says.

Some children also have asthma symptoms, causing them to feel short of breath and cough a lot.

Can I give my child allergy medicines?

Over-the-counter treatments such as saline sprays, nasal steroid sprays and antihistamines can work for children, but Dr. Hong says parents should talk to their pediatrician about the different medications and proper dosing.

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It’s also important to be on the lookout for how allergy medications make children feel.

“Monitor whether the medications make them sleepy,” Dr. Hong suggests. “Some of the liquids or pills that they might be taking can cause them to be sleepy, so you want to make sure that you either dose them at night or choose one that’s a little bit better for them so that they’re not drowsy.

If a child is having allergy symptoms all of the time, Dr. Hong advises being proactive and seeking medical treatment so the child can focus in school and isn’t distracted by their runny nose and sneezing all day long.

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