If your house is anything like mine, certain seasons are synonymous with sniffles and sneezes. It has taken me some years to become skilled at these childhood ailments, but as an allergy sufferer myself I have identified these telltale signs that will help you determine if your child is suffering from allergies, cold symptoms, or something more serious.
Eyes – If the eyes are red, itchy, and/or watery then it’s probably allergies. If you find redness in the lower eyelid, or if they are crusty in the morning or after naptime, then it may be pink eye.
Nose – If the nose is itchy or stuffy and draining a clear, watery fluid, then it’s most likely allergy symptoms. If it’s congested with yellow mucous, then your child may have a cold. Green drainage or pain in the nose or face may be a sign of a possible sinus infection.
Ears – Eardrums that are itchy have probably fallen victim to those troublesome allergens; however if your child is complaining of painful or clogged ears, he may have an ear infection.
Throat – A sore throat can be kind of tricky. It could be due to post nasal drip, a cold symptom or a bacterial infection. The key here is to check for other symptoms as well. If after taking stock of all the symptoms you are still unsure, call the pediatrician or allergist.
Other allergy symptoms include hoarseness due to post nasal drip, wheezing (even if your child does not have asthma), coughing due to scratchiness or tickling in the throat.
If your child is experiencing any difficulty breathing, whether it be wheezing or even slightly labored breathing, contact your pediatrician immediately. This may be a sign of a severe allergic reaction.
Other viral and bacterial symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy or a phlegm producing cough.
Over the years I have come to use this motto as a safety net: when in doubt call the doctor. It takes time, patience, and a skilled eye to determine the cause of your child’s symptoms, but hopefully with these tips you are well on your way.