Children today are affected by allergies in ways not seen in previous years.  The reasons why are not clear, but some say it has to do with the movement of our “clean” lifestyles.  Our children are not regularly exposed to the types of germs that used to be prevalent in most homes, therefore their immune systems are not able to combat cold, flu, and allergy symptoms as well.  The symptoms of allergies and the common cold are similar, so it’s important to watch for the differences to know how to treat your child.

Cold vs. Allergy Symptoms by

Mucus: Thin, clear
Duration: Two weeks+ duration
Fever: No
Itching: Yes
Sneezing: Repetitive

Mucus: Thick, yellow
Duration: No more than two weeks
Fever: Sometimes
Itching: No
Sneezing: Occasional

Distinguishing between a cold and allergies can make a world of difference when it comes to the treatment of your child.  The most common allergy for children is airborne allergies, or Allergic Rhinitis, also known as hay fever.  Treating this common allergy is not always an easy thing to do because it is sometimes difficult to determine what your child is actually allergic to.  Pollen, dust, pet hair, and other outdoor allergens are the most common sources of an allergic reaction, but finding out what the triggers are could take time. provides ways to decrease your child’s exposure to pollen and outside allergens like:

Try to keep him or her inside at least part of the time between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., when pollen is at its peak.

Have your child spend more time indoors when grass is being mowed, and on cloudy, still days when there is a threat of thunderstorms. There can be added mold or pollen spores right before a thunderstorm.

Change your child’s clothes and wash his hair after he has played outside for an entire morning or afternoon.

Close the windows and doors and turn on the fan setting of your air conditioner, which acts as an air purifier. Clean the AC filters every week or two.

Regular vacuuming and dusting inside your home will also help to keep the allergens to a minimum, as well as bathing your pet often and changing the bedsheets at least once a week.  Determining if your child has a cold or allergies doesn’t have to be a lost cause!  Spend time with your child monitoring their symptoms and discussing them with his or her doctor.  The summer months can still be a time of happiness and playing for your child, even with common allergies.

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