Allergic Rhinitis in Children
Rhinitis is a reaction that happens in the eyes, nose, and throat. It occurs when
allergens in the air trigger the release of histamine and other chemicals in the body.
Normally allergens are harmless. But when a person has allergies, the body thinks
allergens are harmful and attacks them. Special cells called mast cells release
chemicals including histamine. The chemicals irritate nearby nasal tissue. This causes
nasal allergy symptoms. When this happens in the lungs' breathing tubes, it can cause
asthma symptoms such as coughing and wheezing.
Allergic rhinitis can happen on a seasonal basis or year-round. There is often a family
history of allergic rhinitis, eczema, asthma, or food allergy.
most common causes of allergic rhinitis in children are:
from trees, grass, or weeds
- Cockroach waste
Things such as strong odors and tobacco smoke can cause similar
symptoms to allergic rhinitis. But these substances are irritants not allergens.
Children with other allergic diseases (such as eczema, food allergy, and asthma) are
more likely to also have allergic rhinitis. About 8 out of 10 children with asthma
have allergic rhinitis. For these children, allergens are a common cause of asthma
attacks. Children whose parents have allergies are also at greater risk of developing
Controlling allergies may help control asthma and eczema in some children.
child may experience symptoms differently. Common symptoms include:
nose, throat, eyes, and ears
drainage from the nose
Children with year-round allergic rhinitis may also have these symptoms:
infections that keep coming back
- Breathing through the mouth
doing well in school
- A line
or crease across the bridge of the nose from often wiping or scratching the itchy
symptoms of allergic rhinitis may look like other conditions or health problems. Always
talk with your child’s healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
In most cases, your child’s healthcare
provider makes the diagnosis based on a full health history and physical exam. During
the exam, your child’s provider may also find:
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Creases under the eyes
- Swollen tissue inside the nose
If this is the case, then the provider may refer your child to see an allergist. An
allergist is a healthcare provider who is trained to do allergy skin testing. This
testing will tell you exactly what things are causing your child to have symptoms.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general
health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Treatment choices may include:
- Medicines for asthma symptoms
Experts don't know how to prevent a person from developing allergic rhinitis. But
can help prevent the symptoms by:
- Controlling your child's environment, such as using air conditioning during pollen
your child stay away from areas where there is heavy dust, mites, or molds
your child away from pets
When to Call a Healthcare Provider
Call your child’s healthcare provider
if your child has:
- Symptoms that get worse
- New symptoms
rhinitis is a reaction that happens in the eyes, nose, and throat. It occurs when
allergens in the air trigger the release of histamine in the body.
- Allergic rhinitis can happen on a seasonal basis or year-round.
There is often a family history of allergic rhinitis, eczema, asthma, or food
- Your child may be referred to see an allergist for allergy skin
causes include pollen, dust mites, mold, cockroach waste, and animal dander.
- Children with other allergic diseases such as eczema, food
allergy, and asthma are more likely to also have allergic rhinitis.
- Treatment may include staying away from allergens and using medicines to treat
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
- Know the reason for the visit and what you want to happen.
- Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
- At the
visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis and any new medicines, treatments, or
tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you for your
- Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed and how it will help your child.
Also know what the side effects are.
- Ask if your child’s condition can be treated in other ways.
- Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
- Know what to expect if your child does not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
- If your child has a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose
for that visit.
- Know how you can contact your child’s provider after office hours. This is important
if your child becomes ill and you have questions or need advice.