Nasal or seasonal allergies and colds often have the same symptoms so how do you tell the difference?
First of all, a nasal allergy is caused by an allergen such as dust mites, animal dander, mold, or pollen. These allergens are breathed in through the mouth and nose. In a child that is allergic to the allergen, their body will react as if the allergen is an invader and release histamines and other necessary chemicals to rid the body of the invader.
In the case of nasal allergies, your child will exhibit symptoms that are almost exactly like a cold; runny nose, watery itchy eyes, a cough, sneezing, congestions. To determine if your child has a cold or an allergy, answer the following questions:
· Is your child sick often with the same symptoms?
· Does your child often have a runny or stuffed up nose?
· Do they frequently wipe or push on their nose? (Physicians call this the “allergy salute”)
· If drainage is present, is it clear and thin or yellow or green and thick?
· Does your child sneeze and scratch her eyes frequently?
· Is the skin under the eye dark with a purple or blue tint? (Physicians call this “allergic shiners”)
· Are any skin rashes present?
· Is there a dry, non-productive cough?
· Does your child breath with their mouth open?
There is a good chance that your child has an allergy if you answered yes to any of these questions. They could be allergic to something in their environment or something they are coming in contact with at school. It’s hard to pinpoint the cause of a nasal allergy. You can try to remove things one at a time, that you think your child could be allergic to and monitor their symptoms. However, many parents choose to take their child to the doctor for skin tests.
During a skin test, a minute amount of each allergen is placed on your child’s skin. If your child is allergic to a particular allergen, a small reaction (like a mosquito bite) will show up in the location that the allergen was placed.
A skin test is definitive and will help you to battle your child’s allergies, but you must also keep in mind that many times, a child will outgrow allergies.