BabyFamilyHealth & FitnessMotherhood

Is It A Cold or Is It Allergies?

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With sports schedules starting and the new school year slowly unraveling, its been a dragging crawl finding our rhythm as a family.   September, though one of my favorite months, seems like one of my busiest due to all the new routines.  I am trying to find the days where we don’t have an activity so I can enjoy the fall weather by simply going to the park with the kids after school.

During this past summer, the temperatures certainly had most families running to the beach or hiding in the air condition.  Escaping the heat and going to the mountains has always been our favorite go-to for some reprieve from the heat.  Living only a few hours from the mountains is perfect for enjoying the cooler temperatures and the great outdoors.  For me, I simply love to open the windows and inhale the much crisper air.  However, what I didn’t know about being in this new location with lots of grass and trees, is that I would be kick starting my allergies.  With fall finally arriving, and the back-to-school germs in full force, it seems like allergies and colds are on a colliding rise.

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It’s inevitable, the kids are going to be exposed to those back-to-school germs.  And as their Mom, I find it hard to tell if one of my kids has a fall cold or fall allergies.  Out of nowhere, one of my kids will start sneezing and have really red eyes.   I am not a doctor, but need to know the difference as a parent if my child has a cold or if he is allergic to something?  When I was a kid, the same thing happened to me.  But after visiting an allergist it was determined, along with my asthma, that I had allergies to pollen, dust, grass, cats and so much more.

It’s not just my school age kids who are being exposed, baby Brody too is now joining in on the germ crusade. He has mastered the marine crawl and no matter how many times I clean the floor he has dog hair and whatever germs his siblings are bringing in all over him.  Its unavoidable, fall allergies and fall colds can happen simultaneously and when the kids start sneezing and have runny noses, I need to not only know the difference, but I need to know how to properly administer OTC medicine.

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Do you know that allergies are the third most common chronic disease among children 18 and under?   We are clearly a nation with many allergy sufferers!  According to HealthyChildren.org, almost 60% of children with parents who suffer from seasonal allergies, will also suffer from seasonal allergies.  Bummer! With both my husband and I having allergies, my kids will probably have the same fate.

According to Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson of Seattle Mama Doc, usually seasonal allergies in kids don’t start until after the age of three.   It’s not just me, but most parents often struggle to tell the difference between allergies or a cold.    In terms of the common cold, according to the CDC, the average adult has 2-3 colds per year and kids have even more.  Here is a helpful video from my favorite Seattle Mama Doc who really explains what to look for to know the differences.

Four Tips To Tell the Difference Between a Cold and Allergy

  1. Allergy: Symptoms show up as soon as child is exposed to the allergen
  2. Cold: Your child has a fever
  3. Allergy: Symptoms last indefinitely
  4. Cold: Symptoms last 7-10 days

How To Safely Give Kids OTC Allergy Relief

Always read the Drug Facts label and know the ingredients of the OTC meds and if it’s safe for your child. In terms of allergy relief, it is NOT safe to give children under age six OTC meds containing diphenhydramine, always consult your doctor with any questions before administering an OTC medicine to kids. And most importantly, NEVER give kids any OTC medicines to make them sleepy.

Baby Brody had an allergic reaction to eggs and before administering an OTC medication I had to call his doctor.  It is crucial to know the proper amount to give based on age and weight.  Always consult your doctor if you are unsure or have questions. Never guess the dose you should be giving your child.

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September is always full of new beginnings and sadly new sniffles.  Packing my children’s backpacks with home-made lunches, hand sanitizers and sweet little notes is just part of it.  Being knowledgeable about colds and allergies and being able to be a sniffle detective always helps.  One website I can always count on is  Know Your OTC’s .  This site has been an excellent resource for me as a parent.  Understanding how to properly read the Drug Facts label when giving our little ones medicine, makes me feel more prepared and confident.  And as their Mom, I am able to handle the similar symptoms of colds and allergies when they happen to arise.

This Post Has Been Sponsored, Thank You For Sponsoring CityGirlGoneMom. I have been compensated by the CHPA’s Educational Foundation, KnowYourOTCs,
but all opinions are my own.

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