Does My Child Have Allergies?

Could your little one’s constant sniffles be caused by childhood allergies? 

Your child has a runny nose and a cough. Could they simply have a cold, or could it be allergies? While children will often deal with frequent colds throughout the year, seasonal allergies are also becoming more common in children. So, how can a parent pinpoint the warning signs of childhood allergies? Our Commack, NY, pediatric pulmonologist Dr. Brian Bezack can help you spot the difference.

What symptoms is your child experiencing?

While both a cold and allergies may produce similar symptoms, they are very different. Allergies occur when your child’s body treats a harmless substance as something dangerous, and the immune system goes into overdrive to react and fight the allergen. A cold, on the other hand, is a viral infection that can be passed from person to person or through droplets in the air. Allergies and a cold will often both present with:

  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Sneezing

However, there are some key differences in symptoms that can help your family determine whether your child has an allergy. As your Commack, NY, pulmonologist will tell you, a sore throat is often more indicative of a cold, as are fatigue and body aches. If your child has a fever, then they most likely have a cold and not allergies. If your child is dealing with watery or itchy eyes along with the symptoms above, these are signs of a childhood allergy.

If you notice that your child’s lower eyelids look a bit purple, this is known as an “allergic shiner”. This is a telltale sign of allergies. While less pleasant, another way to differentiate between a cold and allergies is to look at your child’s nasal discharge. Since viruses do not cause allergies, your little one should have clear nasal discharge; however, if your child has a cold or respiratory infection, they will most likely deal with yellow or green nasal discharge.

How long have your little one’s symptoms been going on? 

Most common colds last anywhere from 10 days to two weeks and then symptoms will go away, while allergies will linger for several weeks or continue to pop up throughout the year if your child has seasonal allergies. You may notice that certain times of the year such as the spring or fall make your child’s symptoms worse. These are all signs that your child has a possible allergy.

If you think your child might be dealing with an allergy it’s important to talk with our Commack, NY, pulmonologist about allergy testing. To schedule an evaluation for your little one, call Bezack Pediatric Pulmonology at (631) 499-1298.

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