Allergy

Updated 05 August 2016

New products ease childhood nasal allergies

In the last 20 years, there has been a remarkable transformation in allergy treatments, and today's products offer proven approaches for relief of seasonal allergy symptoms.

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Up to 40 percent of children in the United States have nasal allergies, the US Food and Drug Administration says.

Outdoor and indoor allergens

These kids likely have persistent sneezing, along with a stuffy or runny nose. These symptoms – known as allergic rhinitis – are more likely to develop if one or both parents have allergies, the agency noted.

Nasal allergies can be caused by outdoor allergens such as plant pollens (seasonal allergies) or indoor allergens such as mould, dust mites and pet dander.

If your child has seasonal allergies, pay attention to pollen counts and try to keep them inside when pollen levels are high, the FDA suggests.

Read: Pollen counts to double by 2040

In the spring and summer, during the grass pollen season, pollen levels are highest in the evening. In the late summer and early fall, during ragweed pollen season, pollen levels are highest in the morning. Some moulds may also be seasonal. For example, leaf mould is more common in the autumn, the FDA said.

Besides monitoring pollen counts, it often helps to keep windows closed in the house and car and run the air conditioner.

There are over-the-counter and prescription medicines to treat allergies, but parents need to be particularly careful when giving these products to children, the FDA said. Allergy shots are another option.

"In the last 20 years, there has been a remarkable transformation in allergy treatments. Kids used to be miserable for months out of the year, and drugs made them incredibly sleepy. But today's products offer proven approaches for relief of seasonal allergy symptoms," said Dr Jay Slater in an agency news release.

Slater is a paediatric allergist and director of the FDA's Division of Bacterial, Parasitic and Allergenic Products.

Read more:

Childhood allergies affected by race, genetics

Common allergens

Omega-3 may have disadvantages

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Dr Morris is the Principal Allergist at the Cape Town and Johannesburg Allergy Clinics with postgraduate diplomas in Allergology, Dermatology, Paediatrics and Family Medicine dealing with both adult and childhood allergies. obesity and diabetes societies and runs a trial centre for new drugs.

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