Millions of Americans suffer from allergies. Allergies can appear at any age, even disappearing in childhood and reappearing in adulthood. Commonly thought of as only “hayfever” with sneezing, runny nose, nasal stuffiness and itchy, watery eyes, allergies can also cause chronic “sinus” problems: post nasal drip, head congestion, frequent cold, recurring ear infections, hearing loss, dizziness, chronic cough, and asthma. Allergies can also cause stomach and intestinal problems, skin rashes, chronic headaches, and fatigue.
Many strategies exist for treating the patient who suffers from debilitating allergic disease. Among these are environmental control and pharmacotherapy (medication). However, the only “curative” treatment available for those who suffer from allergies is specific allergy testing. Testing can be either through skin testing or a simple blood test and desensitization (more commonly referred to as allergy shots).
Unlike past times when allergy sufferers had to spend the rest of their lives receiving allergy shots, research suggests that 90 percent of patients can achieve a lifelong benefit from just 3-5 years of allergy shots. In addition, allergy testing can be performed on children during minor procedures such as placement of ear tubes. (Tubes are a common procedure for children who experience recurring ear infections often caused by allergies.)
While most people are aware of seasonal allergies that occur in the spring and fall, Winter allergies often go overlooked, especially in children. Mold, dust mites, and pet dander are often the culprits of winter allergies. As people spend more time inside during cold weather, these indoor allergens can trigger your children’s allergy symptoms, including a runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, and a cough.
If your child is sneezing, has a runny nose and itchy eyes for more than three months, you may want to take them to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist (ENT) for an evaluation.