Skip to main content

Search
Airway, Breathing, and Lung Conditions

Can Kids Get Allergies All Year?

|

My son has been congested for what seems like months now. He sometimes has a runny nose and itchy, watery eyes, too. Could this be allergies?
- Fiona

If the seasons have changed and your son has continued to have allergy symptoms, it's possible that he has perennial (year-round) allergies, or what's called perennial allergic rhinitis. This type of allergy is usually caused by indoor allergens like dust mites, indoor mold, and pet dander or saliva.

The only way to know for sure, though, is to talk with your doctor, who will ask questions about your son's symptoms and when they usually occur (for example, when he's indoors, around pets, or in certain rooms of the house). Based on the answers and a physical exam, the doctor may be able to make a diagnosis. If not, the doctor may refer your son to an allergist for skin testing. Skin tests are quick and usually involve putting a purified form of an allergen either on the skin or underneath it to elicit an allergic reaction.

If your son is diagnosed with an indoor allergy, you'll need to work on reducing his exposure to allergens. Here are some tips:

  • Vacuum regularly using a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter or a double-layer bag.
  • To dry out the air, use a dehumidifier (especially in damp areas) or air conditioner, and consider using a HEPA air purifier.
  • For dust mite allergies, remove carpets or rugs from your son's room (hard floor surfaces don't collect dust as much as carpets do), and don't hang heavy drapes or keep other items in the house, like stuffed animals, that collect dust. Special covers can be put on pillows and mattresses to seal out dust. Wash bedding weekly in hot water and dry in a hot dryer.
  • For pet allergies, keep pets out of certain rooms, like your son's bedroom, and minimize contact. If your child is highly allergic, you may need to consider finding another home for your pet.
  • For mold spore allergies, keep your son away from damp areas, such as basements, and keep bathrooms and other mold-prone areas clean and dry. Avoid storing items in damp areas.

If reducing exposure isn't possible or is ineffective, medicines can help ease allergy symptoms. They may include decongestants, antihistamines, and nasal spray steroids. If symptoms cannot be managed with medicines, the doctor may recommend taking your child to an allergist or immunologist for regular allergy shots (immunotherapy) to help desensitize him to the allergens.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: April 2010

License

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995–2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.

Should your child see a doctor?

Find out by selecting your child’s symptom or health condition in the list below:

Spring 2014: Good Growing Newsletter

In This Issue

  • Cold Water Shock Can Quickly Cause Drowning
  • E-Cigs Are Addictive and Harmful
  • Bystanders Can Intervene to Stop Bullying

Download Spring 2014 (PDF)

Videos

Overcoming the Odds: A KING 5 TV Children's HealthLink Special 0:44:45Expand
12.30.13

In the spirit of the holidays, patients, parents and doctors share inspirational stories of healing and hope. From surviving heart failure and a near-death drowning to battling a flesh-eating disease, witness how the impossible became possible thanks to the care patients received at Seattle Children's Hospital.

Play Video
Miracle Season 2013 0:57:06Expand
12.11.13

Miracle Season, hosted by Steve Pool and Molly Shen, aired Dec. 8, 2013, on KOMO 4 TV. The annual holiday special celebrates the remarkable lives of Seattle Children's patients.

Play Video
Children’s Mental Health 0:00:30Expand
11.22.13

Mark Fadool, clinical director of mental health services at Odessa Brown Children's Clinic, provides early warning signs of mental health issues in kids and teens and urges us all to notice the signs and act early.

Play Video