Spring has sprung and unfortunately for some of us, this means our seasonal allergies are in full swing. Many children are experiencing allergy symptoms for the first time this year. Here's a quick Q&A on managing them. Keep in mind, if your child has bad allergies, schedule a consult with us so we can check on how you're doing. Many families see allergists for mild spring allergies when it would be much more convenient to see us...and we treat mild allergies the same way!
What medications are there?
There are oral antihistamines like Zyrtec or Claritin, nasal sprays like Astelin and Flonase, and eye drops like Zaditor.
Is it safe to use these medications for a long time?
All of the medications are safe for long-term use. We can help you figure out which are needed, and when.
I don't want to use medications; are there other things I can do?
We respect families and their decisions not to use medications.
Here's a list of things you can do, but keep in mind, for some kids...we may need to do more.
1) Keep windows closed during high pollen counts.
2) Limit your child's outdoor activity during the times of 5 am - 10 am, when pollen counts are highest.
3) Have your children wash their hands after they play outside.
4) Have your children wash their hair at night to avoid having pollen fall onto the pillow, where it will be breathed in all night.
5) Wash bedding once a week
6) Have your children try using nasal saline rinses to help flush out any pollen from the nose
7) HEPA filters, either for central air or room units, can be helpful
When should I see the allergist?
Usually, children with allergies that do not respond to the treatments above should see an allergist; the main reason is to consider immunotherapy, or "allergy shots."
It is important to note, however, that allergy medications need to be used consistently every day in order to appreciate their full effect. Inconsistent use is one of the most common reasons why kids end up with breakthrough allergy symptoms.
A Reminder about Asthma
Allergies can often trigger asthma symptoms, such as wheezing and labored breathing. If your child has an allergy or asthma action plan with instructions for the spring, start following the plan now! For many kids, this means using a controller medication like Flovent or Advair daily during the peak allergy season. If you don't have an asthma action plan or if last year's plan didn't seem to work well enough, call us to schedule an evaluation. Like most medical issues, staying ahead of allergy and asthma gives your kids the best shot at feeling well. Trying to play "catch up" after their symptoms have already started is always harder.
For More Information
Follow this link to read more about allergies and asthma on one of our trusted health websites, HealthyChildren.org.
Broken Bones - what to do?
This is just a reminder that we offer care for many orthopedic and sports injuries in our office. We have many different braces, splints, crutches and other equipment that may help make your child more comfortable. We can also arrange to have x-rays completed at nearby and convenient imaging facilities. We have partnered with Boston Children's Hospital and Surgicare to provide this comprehensive service. If your child has an injury, even if you suspect a broken bone, and the problem isn't so serious that you need to go the emergency room immediately, give us a call; we can help! If you're not sure, STILL give us a call. We'll help you figure it out.
Urgent Problems? Call us!
We know that kids get sick and hurt, and sometimes, there's no choice but to go to the emergency room. We know that insurance plans are making emergency room visits more and more expensive. We understand that Urgent care clinics (like Minute Clinic, MD Express) are places where you can get urgent care. But we also know that:
1) We know your child better than any urgent care provider.
2) We are pediatricians; they usually are not
3) We see many children who have had inadequate or incorrect care at these locations.
When issues come up and you're not sure if it's an emergency, give us a call (even if it's a weekend). We're happy to help you decide if an emergency room visit is needed, or if we can see you at a convenient time that day (or, if at night, the next day).