Healthy Kids    

What do I do about my son's constant "summer colds"?

Dr. Marc Habert of Children's Medical Group answers the question

Q. My son seems to have one “summer cold” after another. I’m beginning to wonder if it could be an allergy. How do I tell the difference, and what can I do to help him get through the summer months?

A. Allergies are by far the most common chronic diseases among children in the US. They are caused by an over-reaction by the immune system, which is “programmed” to protect the body from disease by searching out and destroying foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria. An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system overreacts to a normally harmless substance, such as pollen or animal dander.  Although allergies can develop at any age, they most commonly show up during childhood.

While the symptoms of a cold tend to go away after a week or ten days, allergies can cause symptoms for weeks, or even months on end, which may come and go as different plants bloom. Common allergic symptoms include:

o   Red, teary, itchy or puffy eyes

o   Sneezing

o   Runny, itchy nose or clear nasal congestion

o   Itchy nose, nose rubbing

o   Itching of the mouth, throat or ear canals

o   Hacking dry cough or cough that produces clear mucus

o   Wheezing (noisy breathing)

o   Shortness of breath

o   Eczema (patches of dry, itchy, red skin rash) or hives (welts).

If you think your child is having a severe reaction (swelling of the throat or tongue), take him to an ER immediately. And be aware that even minor allergies can get worse. Your CMG physician can help by evaluating your child for allergies and suggesting appropriate treatments to relieve their symptoms.

Dr. Marc Habert
Children's Medical Group
29 Elm St., Fishkill
(845) 452-1700