Does Your Child Have Allergies or the Cold?
That persistent runny nose, those itchy eyes, and not to mention the constant complaints, will tug on the heartstrings of any parent whose child is suffering from these ailments. It can be hard to know if your child's sneezing and runny nose is due to allergies or the common cold because the symptoms are very similar. However, if you look closely, you can decipher which one it is by asking yourself the following questions.
1 Did the symptoms come suddenly?
If the symptoms come suddenly and last for a prolonged period of time, it could be allergies. Allergy symptoms, like sneezing, congestion, or a runny nose, are the body's response to breathing in airborne allergens. Colds, on the other hand, are caused by viruses that can turn up in any environment, at any time of year. Cold symptoms tend to occur gradually and last between one to two weeks. An allergy will last for as long as the child is expose to the allergen.
2 Is there a fever?
If yes, then this might be a cold. Allergies are not usually accompanied by a fever.
3 Is there a yellow or greenish nasal discharge?
If yes, then this could be a cold. Allergies tend to have a thin and clear nasal discharge rather than a thick yellow or greenish one.
4 Are the eyes puffy and runny?
Children with allergies have allergic shiners, or chronic dark circles under the eyes, along with puffy eyelids and a sensitivity to light. It can be subtle, but this is a physical sign that can indicate that the child is suffering from allergies and not the cold.
5 Note the activities that initiate these symptoms.
If you notice that your child is fine inside the house but starts sneezing after playing outside, it could point to allergies. This is a good clue, especially if your child is playing near plants or trees that could be causing the allergy. The same concept applies to a pet allergy. If you do not have pets at home but your child sneezes when your neighbour's cat or dog is around, then an allergy could be to blame. Timing is also important. Pollen counts are highest around midday, which could trigger symptoms that may not be present in the morning, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
If you suspect that your child maybe experiencing symptoms of allergies or the cold, visit your physician as soon as possible for an official diagnosis. Making a note of the questions above should help you communicate the symptoms to your physician.
- Kids Health
- American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology