Does your child have seasonal allergies or a cold?

Does your child have seasonal allergies or a cold?
Expert describes how parents can tell the difference.

(HealthDay) -- It can be difficult during the spring months for parents to determine whether their children have a cold or seasonal allergies, but an expert outlines how to tell the difference.

"Runny, stuffy or itchy noses; sneezing; coughing; fatigue; and headaches can all be symptoms of both allergies and colds, but when parents pay close attention to minor details they will be able to tell the difference," Dr. Michelle Lierl, a pediatric allergist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, said in a hospital news release.

"Children who have spring or fall allergies have much more itching of their noses; they often have fits of sneezing and usually rub their noses in an upward motion," she explained. "They also complain about an itchy, scratchy throat or itchy eyes, whereas with a cold, they don't."

When people have allergies, their nasal discharge is usually clear and has the consistency of watery mucus, while those with colds typically have yellowish mucus discharge, Lierl said.

She recommended that children with seasonal allergy symptoms be tested for -- such as -- that are present during seasons when they have symptoms, but not tested for food allergies or allergens present during seasons when children don't have symptoms.

If your child has , Lierl suggested many things you can do to control symptoms:

  • Keep windows closed during periods of high pollen and fungal spore levels, and change air conditioner filters every month.
  • Change children's clothing when they come inside from outdoors. Wash clothing to rid them of all .
  • After being outside, children should wash their face, hands and hair, and parents should use a nonprescription saline solution to rinse children's eyes and nose.
  • Limit outdoor activity in the morning, when are higher. When traveling, keep vehicle windows closed to keep pollen and other allergens out.
  • Make sure take their allergy medicine daily during pollen season.

More information: The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about seasonal allergies in children.

Related Stories

Tips for managing your child's allergies

date Mar 19, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Allergy season can be a difficult time of year for many children and their parents.  With spring in the air, pollen is close behind.

What does my child's sneeze mean?

date Apr 26, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- Though much of the beauty of spring is its vivid colors, rosy-red eyes and noses aren’t usually considered a welcome part of the landscape. Runny noses, sneezing and coughing often trumpet spring’s ...

Preparing for seasonal allergies

date Mar 27, 2012

Itchy eyes. Scratchy throat. Runny nose. They’re all symptoms of seasonal allergies, which will wreak havoc on people this spring. Northeastern University news office asked Karen Horbowicz, an assistant ...

Allergy season no laughing matter

date Mar 31, 2011

For allergy sufferers, April Fools’ Day means something better than a good laugh. It’s the start of the daily Gottlieb Allergy Count.

Recommended for you

Using a shopping list may aid food desert residents

date 3 hours ago

For residents of areas with limited access to healthy foods, also known as food deserts, multiple barriers exist that amplify the health risks of living in those areas. Likewise, risks for poor diet and being overweight or ...

Perception of US care for the dying worsens

date 10 hours ago

Surveys of loved ones who lost elderly relatives show that the perception of the quality of care for the dying in the United States has worsened over the last decade. For all the health care industry has done to try to make ...

Expanded hospice improves care but raises Medicare costs

date 10 hours ago

A large new study in the New England Journal of Medicine examines the impact of growth in Medicare's hospice benefit among nursing home residents between 2004 and 2009. The researchers documented improvement in ind ...

Ivory Coast bans skin whitening creams

date 10 hours ago

Ivory Coast has banned skin whitening creams, which are widely used in west Africa, because of fears they cause lasting damage to health, the health ministry said Wednesday.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.