KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — With temperatures warming up, many flowers are starting to bloom. That means spring allergies are soon to be on the rise.

Allergies often start in childhood and continue throughout life. Dr. Amit Patel from East Tennessee Children’s Hospital talks about the differences between allergies and the common cold, common causes and how to control allergy symptoms.  

When should you suspect an allergy versus common cold? 

Repeated or chronic cold-like symptoms that last more than a week or two, or develop about the same time every year are likely allergies instead of a cold. Symptoms include:

  • Runny nose
  • Nasal stuffiness
  • Sneezing
  • Throat clearing
  • Nose rubbing
  • Itchy, runny eyes

Common allergies

  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Animals
  • Certain foods

Controlling allergy symptoms

Identify what your child is allergic to and avoid it as much as possible. Parents should work with their child’s pediatrician or an allergist.

  • Keep windows closed to keep outdoor pollen and mold from entering the home.
  • Change clothes when a child comes indoors and wash clothing as soon as possible.
  • Give child a bath when they come in from playing outdoors.
  • Use a dryer for clothing and bedding, rather than a clothes line.

Is allergy medicine safe for children? 

Yes, when used properly. Always check with your pediatrician before using over the counter medication and use only as directed to manage symptoms. Pediatrician may prescribe an antihistamine or a decongestant depending on your child’s specific symptoms.

Signs it could be more than allergies 

Asthma is a chronic condition that starts in the lungs. Children with asthma often feel worse during allergy season. Wheezing could indicate asthma. See your child’s pediatrician to diagnose.

For more information:

AAP Allergy Tips

Do Allergies Cause Asthma?