|Approaches to Treatment of Hay Fever and Allergies:
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by Lauren Feder, M.D.
Conventional Treatment Hay Fever and Allergies
Medications are used as needed for seasonal allergies, while a child with perennial allergies may be prescribed medications year round. These include antihistamines, decongestants and steroids. In addition, the child may undergo a whole battery of allergy tests to identify hidden allergies. Prick skin tests using a small needle test for food and environmental allergens. A positive test will form a bump at the site of the skin prick. The test is uncomfortable for children, and not always reliable. Allergy testing is more reliable in children over five years old. Also a blood test (R.A.S.T.) is available, though considered less accurate than skin testing. Allergy shots, meant to make the child less sensitive over time to allergens, are also sometimes recommended by allergists. This approach is expensive, time consuming and uncomfortable for the child. General home treatment includes:
- Avoid known allergens, when possible.
- Dust-free environment. Dust mite droppings are the cause of allergies from dust. Be sure to keep a clean environment. Carpets, heavy curtains, stuffed animals attract dust. Many of my families with allergies report better results with hard wood floors rather than carpeting. Keep your child's room free of clutter.
- Cover mattress, pillow, box springs with allergy proof plastic cover
- HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Accumulator) filter for airborne allergies. Reduces mold, pollen, dust mite droppings, animal danger.
- Nasal rinses, known as nasal lavage or irrigation, has been shown to be helpful for children with hay fever. The saltwater solution is sprayed into each nostril either by using a bulb syringe or a neti pot. The neti pot, used in India for centuries, has a spout for the nose. The salt to water ratio is 1 level teaspoon sea salt to 2 cups (1/2 liter) of lukewarm filtered water. Use once or twice a day as needed.
- Bathe (including washing the hair) to get rid of pollen from the day
- Healing applications: Lemon is good for watery runny nose or eyes, allergy and hay fever. Use lemon as a steam inhalation, chest compress, or lemon slices in socks and kept in place on the soles of the feet.
I have seen many children who are taking a multitude of allergy medications. They arrive for a homeopathic consultation because the medications, which merely suppress the symptoms and not treat the deeper underlying condition, are either not effective or parents are uneasy with their child taking so many medicines.