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Janet V. Johnson, MD
Children’s Health and Spring Time
Loving Care Pediatrics

Children’s Health and Spring Time

Children’s Health and Spring Time

For most children spring means more outdoor activities. For their parents, this means being extra vigilant to keep your child safe and healthy. Learning about spring allergies and using insect repellents safely can help you keep your child healthy and safe during the season.


Allergies can cause your child to have a lot of sneezing, along with a clear runny or stuffy nose, itchy and watery eyes and a cough, especially when they have spent a lot of time outside playing.

Allergic rhinitis or hay fever may be due to outdoor allergens, such as tree pollens, grasses and weeds and is a common problem in infants and children. Allergic rhinitis symptoms usually occur during certain times of the year for children. Other children may have perennial allergies, with problems occurring year round from exposure to indoor allergens, such as dust mites, pets, second hand smoke and molds.

Having uncontrolled allergies can put your child at risk for getting a secondary sinus infection, ear infections, make asthma symptoms worse and for having poor concentration at school.

The best treatment for allergic rhinitis is to avoid what your child is allergic to by following prevention and environmental controls. Some medications that are used to control the symptoms of allergic rhinitis include decongestants, antihistamines and steroids. Prescription allergy medications include the newer, non-sedating antihistamines and topical steroids.

To be effective, your child should be using these medications every day. They will not work as well if just used on an as needed basis.

If your child does not improve with these interventions, then their doctor will consider having your child see an allergy specialist for skin testing to figure out what your child is allergic to and to possibly start immunotherapy injections (allergy shots).

Safe Usage Of Insect Repellents

Many safe and effective insect repellents are available that you can use to protect your child, including those that use DEET, citronella, or soybean oil. Remember to only use products that are approved for children, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wash off the insect repellents when you return indoors.

Insect repellents with DEET are probably the best and most commonly used. DEET is absorbed through your child’s skin, and it is generally safe as long as the product has less than 10% DEET. So you may consider limiting how much you put on younger children, wash it off as soon as possible, and apply it more to clothing than skin.

DEET insect repellents are effective for several hours, they do wash off with water and sweat, and you should reapply them to be most effective but always follow the product’s instructions to be safe.

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