Parent Magazine Flagler December 2019 - Page 14

Doctor ASK THE Introducing our new monthly feature, Ask the Doctor. Our healthcare partners will be answering your questions. To submit a question, please email editor@parentmagazineflorida.com. Dr. Meredith Brazell, DO Dr. Brazell is a Pediatrician at Flagler Health+ Primary Care and Pediatrics at Palencia, 120 Palencia Village Drive, Suite 107, (904) 819-3200 How can parents tell if their child has allergies? What course of action should they take? Allergies can have a variety of signs. One sign is our “salute” sign – if a child is constantly sneezing or having an itchy nose, they will push up constantly on their nose to rub it and create a dark crease above the nose and we call that the “salute” sign. Another sign is what we call “allergic shiners”– dark circles under the eyes that can be caused by pooling of blood or fluid under the eyes. This is actually coming from swelling of the tissue around the nose. Red, watery, or itchy eyes are also another sign of allergies. Sometimes, drainage goes back to our throat and we get tickling in our throat or a constant cough trying to clear that drainage. Even the ears can get itchy or feel full. Allergies usually correspond with a season – some children have them 12 | F L A G L E R parent M A G A Z I N E in the winter and some in the summer or some flare every time a season changes. We know they are allergies verses a cold due to their mild symptoms and no fever. Either way, parents should bring their child in to be evaluated by their doctor because there are some ways to help allergies, such as a cold mist humidifier at night, saline nose sprays, changing pillow cases or allergy medications like Zyrtec, Claritin or others. It is also important to have a doctor help decide between symptoms caused by allergies versus an illness. Allergies can also cause a child that has asthma to have flare ups so a doctor will also want to discuss how to handle this. Does my child have asthma? What should I be looking for? Can I treat this myself? Asthma can be a hard diagnosis to make and should be determined by the pediatrician or sometimes an asthma/ allergy specialist. It can be present in obvious ways such as wheezing or difficulty breathing but it can also be present as fatigue, tight chest, or even trouble with feeding. There is cough-variant asthma and exercise- induced asthma as well. The best thing to do is to keep a diary of your child’s symptoms, when it started, what was happening when it started, how long it lasts, and what made it better or worse. Present this diary to your physician. Treatment usually requires medication that only a physician can prescribe.