Wake Up 2 Spring: Recognizing allergy symptoms in kids

March 20 is officially the first day of spring – and spring can spell misery for allergy sufferers.

It may be easy for adults to recognize allergy symptoms, but how can we tell if our children are suffering from spring allergies rather than a common cold?

Dr. Sandra Hong, with the Cleveland Clinic, said one tell-tale sign that a child has allergies is if they’re constantly rubbing their nose.

“They actually push up on it and they do this ‘allergic salute,’ and so you’ll actually see a little crease there, just from kind of all the rubbing of their nose that they do,” Hong said.

Hong said children with allergies can feel pretty miserable. 

Symptoms can keep them from being able to concentrate in school or while playing sports. Some children also have asthma symptoms, causing shortness of breath and coughing.

Most children with seasonal allergies will sound stuffy and congested. 

Hong said parents might also notice their child is eating with their mouth open because they can’t breathe through their nose effectively.

Over-the-counter treatments such as saline sprays, nasal steroid sprays and antihistamines may help, but Hong said parents need to talk to their child’s doctor about the different medications and proper dosing.

She said it’s also important to be on the lookout for how allergy medications make your child feel.

“Monitor whether or not the medications make them sleepy,” Hong said. “Some of the actual liquids that they might be taking, or the pills that they might be taking can actually cause them to be sleepy, so you want to make sure that you 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 the time, Hong said it’s best to be proactive and seek medical treatment so they’re able to focus in school and aren’t distracted by a runny nose and sneezing.