Our children are exposed to a myriad of bacteria and viruses. Indoor air is as polluted as outside air, if not more. No matter what precautions we take, the exposure is unavoidable.
A while ago, I was speaking to my daughter Anamta’s pediatrician, and she explained that the development of a child’s immune system completes around the age of eight years and till then children are very susceptible to viral attacks and allergies. As parents it’s important for us to know when to get alarmed and seek medical help.
Is it a cold if it lasts longer than a week?
Just a few days back, when my daughter came back from her play school, she had a runny nose accompanied with sneezing. I assumed it was a cold because that’s what a cold typically looks like. Naturally, I did all I could to help her fight it off through home remedies and avoiding cold foods. A few days passed and she still had a runny nose and continuous sneezing and it went on for days.
I wondered what was going on. Was it something else, like an allergy, or asthma? It was time to get medical help because only the doctor could figure out what was wrong. And it turned out that it wasn’t a cold at all but an allergic reaction! With the doctor’s guidance, I figured out that my daughter was allergic to pollen and I tried to lower her exposure. Coupled with mild medication, her allergy is very much manageable now.
Understand the allergens
If your child is down with cold and is not getting better, try to observe a few things to understand what ails her.
Take a note of the symptoms. Respiratory allergies, whether seasonal or year-round, can cause sneezing, a runny or stuffy nose, watery or puffy eyes. But there’s one more symptom to look for that will give you a clue that your child may have allergies: itching of the eyes, nose, or roof of the mouth.
Check your child’s temperature. Allergies usually don’t carry fever along with them. If your child has a fever, it points to an infection rather than an allergy. Infections also need medical attention.
Track the length of your child’s symptoms. A cold typically lasts anywhere between a few days to a week. Respiratory allergies, on the other hand, can cause symptoms for weeks at a time.
Pay attention to the time of year. Flowering season can aggravate allergies if the child is allergic to pollen. Hence if the symptoms or uneasiness peak during this time it’s best to get it checked.
Keeping a check on activities that bring on your child’s symptoms. If you notice that your child is fine inside the house but starts sneezing after playing outside it could be pointing to a pollen allergy. The same concept applies to a pet allergy: If you don’t have pets at home but your child starts sneezing at someone else’s house where there’s a pet, an allergy could be to blame.
Allergies are manageable
If a cold is lasting longer than usual, it is very imperative for us to seek immediate medical help. Untreated allergies can cause chronic illnesses including asthma, sinus, respiratory and ear infections, decrease overall immunity, reduce productivity and are a reason to worry. Hence, if my child has a runny nose with continuous sneezing I should be alarmed because it may be something more than a common cold or flu.
With proper precaution, right lifestyle changes like keeping a check on the diet, avoiding pollen and dusty areas, vacuuming regularly, incorporating yoga and meditation in our lives, I have helped my daughter to be healthy and active. Consuming doctor prescribed medication is helpful in keeping discomfort to a minimum.
Know more about allergies and their management here.
The views expressed in the blog content are independent and unbiased views of solely the blogger. This is a part of the public awareness initiative supported by Sanofi India. Sanofi India bears no responsibility for the content of the blog. One should consult their healthcare provider for any health-related information.