Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Allergy Medicine Tips for Children

You may not be able to cure your child’s allergies, but you can help your little one feel better. Here's what you need to know.

Antihistamine Basics

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 antihistamines are short-acting and are taken every four to six hours.
  • Longer-acting timed-release antihistamines 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 antihistamines before symptoms start, to keep them at bay.

Ask your pediatrician whether you should give you child allergy medicine:

  • Before bed.Allergy symptoms are often worse between 4 and 6 a.m. Giving medicine before he goes to sleep controls morning symptoms.
  • Before allergy season. If your child is allergic to pollen, you may want to start an antihistamine before pollen season, for three to 10 days.
  • All the time. If your child has year-round allergies, he may need to take allergy medication regularly to prevent symptoms.

Common Antihistamines

Examples of prescription antihistamines include:

Most eyedrops are recommended only for children over 3. Here are some more common ones that are prescribed:

An example of over-the-counter eyedrops is:

Examples of over-the-counter antihistamines:

Nasal Spray Basics

Steroid nose sprays fight inflammation and help your child breathe better. They can be liquids or aerosol puffs and are used once or more a day.

These sprays take a while to work. They reduce mucus, itch, and congestion. You need a prescription to get steroid nasal sprays.

For best results:

  • Make sure your child sprays the medication away from the septum, the thin wall between the nostrils.
  • If your child's nose has thick mucus, clear it first with a spray saline solution or have her blow her nose.
  • Your doctor may want her to keep taking antihistamines and other allergy drugs until the nose spray kicks in, usually a week or two.
Next Article:

When are your child's allergy symptoms the worst?