Runny nose, rash, wheezes, headaches and sleep disturbances. All are symptoms of seasonal allergies. Parents may wonder whether the treatments that are safe for their own seasonal allergies are also safe for their toddlers. Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears says, “Allergies are the result of an ‘out-of-balance’ immune system.” Both traditional and alternative treatments effectively combat seasonal allergies. Parents should discuss symptoms their toddler has with a doctor or alternative health-care provider before embarking on a treatment plan.
Basic First Steps
Parents whose toddlers suffer from seasonal allergies should refrain from using household cleaners, detergents and skin-care products that contain perfumes, dyes or preservatives that may exacerbate symptoms. HEPA, or high efficiency particulate air, filters are most effective at removing allergens from the air. Make sure all heating and air conditioning units in the home are current on their cleaning schedules.
Zyrtec and Claritin are antihistamines that are safe for children over the age of 2. Sears says these non-sedating antihistamines are safe for long-term use, particularly since, when left untreated, seasonal allergies may lead to more severe complications such as asthma. Both of these antihistamines were once only available by prescription but are now over-the-counter medications.
Pediatrician Dr. Jay Gordon recommends natural treatments for seasonal allergies in toddlers. Nettle is a natural antihistamine that toddlers may take as a tincture or tea. Lavender and clary sage essential oils may help alleviate the muscle tension and congestion that sometimes accompany seasonal allergies and can be added to a bath or unscented lotion. Echinacea and colloidal silver help boost the immune system and may be taken in capsule form. Toddlers who suffer from seasonal allergies should also eat plenty of vitamin C and garlic, both known immunity strengtheners.
Since seasonal allergies are a manifestation of an attack on the immune system, chiropractic work can be an effective treatment for seasonal allergies. Chiropractors practice under the theory the immune system is linked to the central nervous system, which is adversely affected by misalignments, or subluxations, in the spine. Chiropractors use a gentle touch with toddlers when realigning their spines. Duration and frequency of treatment varies from patient to patient.
If nothing seems to bring the toddler relief from seasonal allergies, it may be time to consider allergy shots. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends allergy shots only in the case of severe seasonal allergies that are unresponsive to anything else. Allergy shots eliminate the need for a daily antihistamine, which could be a plus for some parents.