Love Fall Breezes, But Hate Your Child’s Sneezes? What to Do…

Allergy sufferingJust when you and your children have made it through the summer with all the allergic sneezing and coughing seen mostly at the beginning of the summer, Fall arrives and is ushered in by ragweed season. Here we go again: watery itchy eyes, sneezing, runny itchy nose, etc. Now throw in the contact between children of like ages occurring in school rooms across the country and what is a parent to think? Is this allergy, or might it be a cold? Good question, but in fact it makes very little difference if your child is otherwise healthy and feeling well.

While it is true you will begin to see infectious agents causing this situation, this is a child who need not be kept out of school and who need not necessarily be given any medicine to “cure the cold” (there are no existing medicines to cure a cold). There is a certain period of being contagious regardless of the effects of medicines on the symptoms for every infectious disease. In school aged children most of these illnesses are viral in nature and are very similar in their symptoms to allergic issues. The contagious period often begins before the symptoms begin and are unaffected by the use of medications.

Regardless what parents believe, I truly believe that “treatment” is only needed if the symptoms appear to be greatly influencing the life of the child; that is, interfering with appetite, sleeping, playing or school work. Unless that occurs, one is treating insignificant symptoms, such as cough, or fever and more to the advantage of the parents than the child. All medications have side effects and the over-the-counter cold preparations usually contain several medications of differing pharmaceutical classes; each designed to relieve a certain symptom, e.g. cough, runny nose, fever, etc. Most of the time your child does not need all features of these medications (but that’s the only way it comes) and side effects can occur.

Add to that the fact that even using the exactly correct medicine for the symptom, the over-the-counter medication is not liable to achieve the desired result. Also a good proportion of symptoms at this time of year may be allergy related and will respond even poorer to the over the counter cold medicines.

Further posts will deal with such issues as fever and use of antibiotics, but for now, you should be equally concerned about what goes into your child’s body whether that is foods or relatively useless medicines. Remember, as a parent, whether you sleep well at night or not is not as important as whether your child is perfectly comfortable even though there may be an annoying cough that you are listening to very intently all night. You’re tired and yes you’re annoyed (it’s OK to be annoyed) but when you tentatively venture into your child’s room, most likely you’ll find he/she is sleeping, well, like a baby.

About the Author

Dr. Joseph Skoloff received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his medical degree from The Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He is a past Vice Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics, a past Chairman of the Infection Control Committee at the Loudoun Hospital Center and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In his 41 years as a practicing pediatrician he has kept hundreds of kids and families healthy and safe and plans to continue to do so for years to come. Dr. Joe believes strongly in the combined power of parent and physician working together for the health of their children. He is an advocate for children everywhere and and adheres strongly to the principles of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr Joe is a member of the PedSafe Expert team


3 Responses to “Love Fall Breezes, But Hate Your Child’s Sneezes? What to Do…”

  1. Ugh. Ragweed season. That’s where it hits me the worst, I’m terribly allergic and as soon as it rolls around it appears as though my kids are too. They each have to use prescription daily nasal spray and have to each take Singular. Boy am I going to miss summer…


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  1. Cold Or Allergies | Histamine Intolerance says:

    […] The Common Cold not a Sinus Infection A sinus infection is usually characterized by headaches, feve…on A sinus infection is usually characterized by headaches, fever, fatigue, a runny nose, nasal congestion, aches and pains. These symptoms can also be experienced if you have a cold. Since sinusitis and cold symptoms are generally very similar to each other, the best way to find out if you have a sinus infection is to see your doctor and get a proper diagnosis. One difference between a sinus infection and a cold is that sinusitis is usually caused by a bacterial infection whereas a cold is viral, which means that a cold does not need to be treated with antibiotics and in most cases will just resolve on its own. If you have the common cold, the onset of symptoms is gradual on 1 2 day duration. As a cold progresses, the nasal mucous may thicken and turn yellow or green. This is the stage just before a cold dries up. A cold usually lasts about 1 to 2 weeks but some symptoms may last up to 3 weeks. Colds occur throughout the year but are most common in the late winter and spring. Children have at least 6 colds a year. Adults have fewer. Using a mouthwash will not prevent a cold and antibiotics will not cure a cold. There is no definite cure for a cold but there are ways to treat the symptoms. The Best Cure is Prevention *Eat a well balanced diet and be sure to take vitamin supplements like Vitamin C to boost your immune system. *Try to avoid people who have colds. Viruses are often airborne and highly contagious especially in crowded areas with poor circulation. *Keep your hands away from your nose, eyes and mouth, although you can use your hands to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough. *Wash your hands often especially when you are around people who have colds. *Humidify your bedrooms or your whole house if possible. Using a vaporizer can help moisten your nasal passages to clear or prevent congestion. How to Treat your Cold at Home *Rest well. Avoid too much stress. Your immune system is down when you have a cold so take it easy for a while so as not to catch more viruses. *Drink plenty of liquids to hydrate your body. Hot water, herbal tea, or chicken soup will help relieve congestion. *Take aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen for your aches and pains. But do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20 years old. *Humidify. Take hot showers and inhale the steam. Use a vaporizer if you have one. This will relieve nasal stuffiness. *Check the back of your throat for post nasal drip. If you see streaks of mucous, gargle with warm water to prevent sore throat. *Avoid cold remedies that contain a combination of drugs to treat many different symptoms. Treat each symptom separately. Take a decongestant for stuffiness, a cough medicine for a cough. *Do not use nasal decongestant sprays or vaporizer for more than 3 days in a row. *Avoid antihistamines and antibiotics. They are not effective treatments for colds. If you are still experiencing symptoms after 3 weeks or your symptoms worsen, suspect allergies or even a sinus infection. Stop taking any medication and see your doctor immediately. To read more on sinus infection vaporizer, please feel free to visit Sinusitis – Sinus Dynamics. […]

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