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Hot and Cold Compresses

Allergies can make your little one feel miserable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it better. You can help them avoid things that trigger their symptoms. And you can also learn about medicines that fight allergies. Home treatments can work, too. To ease sinus pressure, start by rinsing their face to remove any pollen. Then put a warm compress on their face, either the nose or forehead. Just ask where they feel pressure. A cold, wet washcloth or an ice pack wrapped in a towel for a short time can relieve itchy eyes.

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Soothe itchy eyes with lubricating eyedrops. They're sometimes called natural tears. Don't use products for "red eye" for more than a few days because they can make eyes worse. You can also get nonprescription antihistamine eyedrops. They help red, itchy eyes. Ask your pharmacist, and follow the directions on the label.

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Salt Water

For an irritated nose, you can spray sterilized salt water up your child’s nostrils. It can also help wash away pollen, dust, and dander. It may even help loosen mucus. Ask the pharmacist to help you find a spray for children. Older kids may be able to flush their noses out with sterile salt water using a neti pot.

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These drugs can help tame itching, sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes. You can buy some kinds without a prescription. They come in different forms, like pill, liquid, chewable, or "melt-away" options. Your doctor may suggest your kid take one every day during allergy season. Some of these drugs can make them sleepy, so you may want to give them before bedtime.

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If allergies give your child a stuffy nose, try a decongestant. These drugs can make your child hyper or cause trouble sleeping, so it's best not to use them too long. They come as pills, liquids, and sprays -- but don't give them a nasal spray for more than 3 days. Using them longer can lead to an even stuffier nose. To treat several allergy symptoms at once, your doctor may suggest a medicine that combines a decongestant with an antihistamine.

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Runny nose? Stuffiness? Non-prescription or prescription steroid nose sprays often work well to treat these symptoms. They might not need to take many other allergy medicines. But if their allergies are really bad, the doctor might, in rare cases, suggest them to take steroid pills or liquids for a few days. They can control the symptoms until other treatments have a chance to work.

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Allergy Shots

If your child doesn’t get better or their allergies are severe, the doctor may suggest allergy shots. They’ll help them become less sensitive to allergy triggers over time. With each shot, they'll get a tiny dose of the allergens that cause their problems. The goal is to ease their body's reaction when they come in contact with them in day-to-day life. It can take several months or more of regular shots for this to work. They may need to get the shots for years.

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How to Fend Off Outdoor Allergies

Keep windows closed during peak pollen season. Also have your child shower and change clothes when they come inside the house. The same goes for the fall and winter if outdoor mold or weed pollens are a trigger.

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Stop Indoor Allergies

Special covers for pillows and mattresses can help keep dust mites away. Keep carpets, rugs, and drapes out of your child's room if you can. They collect lots of dust. Don't clean when they are in the room. Keep kids out of damp areas like basements, where mold can thrive. Don't set humidity levels above 45%. Also, keep shedding pets out of bedrooms, and vacuum often.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 02/26/2019 Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on February 26, 2019


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American Academy of Otolaryngology: "Sinus Headaches."
American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: "Eye Allergy," "Humidifiers and Indoor Allergies," "Sinus Rinse Recipe." "Antihistamines: Understanding Your OTC Options," "Decongestants: OTC Relief for Congestion." "Allergy Medicines," "Corticosteroids."
KidsHealth: "All About Allergies," "Allergy Shots."
Rabago, D. American Family Physician, Nov. 15, 2009.
Seattle Children's: "Eye Allergy," "Hay Fever (Seasonal Allergies)."
UCLA: "A Guide to Natural Ways to Alleviate Allergy and Sinusitis Symptoms."

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on February 26, 2019

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.