Allergy Medicine Tips for Children
You can't cure your child’s allergies, but you can help your little one feel better.
When your child has an allergic reaction, his body releases a chemical called histamine. That’s what makes his nose stuffy or runny. It can also make his eyes itchy and watery.
Antihistamines are usually the first medications used to treat allergies. Like their name suggests, they work by blocking the effect of histamine.
Things to Know:
- Some are short-acting and are taken every 4 to 6 hours.
- Longer-acting timed-release ones are taken every 12 to 24 hours.
- Some medicines combine an antihistamine and a decongestant.
- The most common side effects are drowsiness and dry mouth.
Ask your pediatrician which medicine is best for your child.
When Kids Should Take Antihistamines
Most experts say you should take these meds before symptoms start to keep them at bay.
Ask your pediatrician whether you should give your child allergy medicine:
Allergy symptoms are often worse between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. If you give him medicine before he goes to sleep, it could control his morning symptoms.
Before allergy season. If your child is allergic to pollen, you may want to start an antihistamine before pollen season, for 3 to 10 days.
All the time. If your child has year-round allergies, he may need to take allergy medication regularly to prevent symptoms.
Examples of prescription-strength ones include:
Most eyedrops are recommended only for children over 3. Common prescription ones include:
An over-the-counter eyedrop option is ketotifen fumarate (Zaditor)
Over-the-counter antihistamines include: