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Allergic Rhinitis (Pediatric)

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This information was reviewed and approved by Christine B. Cho, MD (9/30/2015).

Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is a common problem of children. The most frequent symptoms include a stuffy or runny nose with clear drainage, sneezing, itchy eyes and nose, sore throat, throat clearing and a cough that is often worse at night and upon awakening.

Children with seasonal allergic rhinitis have been sensitized to outdoor allergens, such as tree pollen, grasses and weeds. Others have perennial rhinitis, with year-round symptoms caused by indoor allergens such as pets, mold and dust mites. Some children have both types of rhinitis.

Food allergies cause a runny nose less often. If your child's allergy symptoms get acutely worse consistently and immediately after certain foods, then a food allergy evaluation could be indicated. The most common food allergies are to milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soybeans, wheat and seafood.

Allergic rhinitis tends to run in families. It is more common in children that have asthma and/or eczema and those exposed to secondhand smoke or air pollution.

Learn more about allergic rhinitis.

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