Common Sense Defenses Against Seasonal Allergies

Tips to Help Children Breathe Easier

For one in seven U.S. children, spring brings the start of seasonal allergies that can last through the fall. Seasonal allergies such as hay fever and allergic rhinitis occur when an airborne allergen comes into contact with nasal membranes, triggering the release of inflammatory histamines. The result can be sneezing, congestion, itchy eyes, coughing and runny nose. While not life threatening, these symptoms tend to interrupt a youngster’s sleep, weaken concentration and keep him or her from participating fully in play and school.

Over-the-counter allergy medications can bring relief, but like other conventional drugs, they are not without drawbacks. “I don’t think decongestants and antihistamines are appropriate for kids, period,” states Randall Neustaedter, a doctor of Oriental medicine and a homeopathic pediatrician. “They tend to make kids tired, and they don’t really address the problem. They’re like putting a Band-Aid on the symptoms. It’s more important to build up immune system function, which these medications do not do.”

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