Runny noses and runny eyes due to allergies

I have had a number of questions concerning allergies in kids and what to do about them. And since the springtime seems to bring on those hayfever, runny nose, itchy eye feelings to many people, now seems a good time to address the problems with allergies. The allergies to which I am referring do not include food or medication allergies but rather those experienced by being exposed to certain things in the environment.

The runny nose and itchy watery eyes caused from allergies are encompassed by the medical term of allergic rhinitis. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between allergic symptoms and those that are caused by something else such as a viral infection. This is particularly true in children who may get several viral infections in a row thus mimicking the symptoms of chronic allergies. Some distinguishing features that may help in figuring this out are:

  1. Itchy eyes tend to be associated with allergies more so than colds
  2. The fluid of the runny nose of allergies tends to stay clear.
  3. Fever is not associated with allergic rhinitis, so if it is present, infection is most likely the cause.
  4. Many children with allergic rhinitis have parents or siblings with the same problem. These allergies tend to be hereditary.
  5. Sore throat or hoarse voice is usually caused by a cold, not allergies.
  6. Allergies tend to be seasonal for those allergic to things in the outside environment.
  7. Allergies caused by things found in the home (e.g. dust mites) tend to make symptoms worse at night when asleep.
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