ISO allergy advice (environmental) for child

Hi families – we think our six year old is experiencing significant environmental allergies that especially affect her at night. I’ve made an appointment with an allergist but soonest available was nearly 2 months away, so I’m seeking any suggestions for things to try in the meantime. When she gets in bed and throughout the night she has runny nose, scratchy or sore throat, sometimes coughing and sneezing, and she is prone to itchy skin at any time of day but without any visible rash. (This is all when she does not have a cold or any type of virus.) She’s always been prone to this and we treat her symptoms but it’s been increasing in severity and now is affecting her sleep.
We’ve Tried over-the-counter Claritin and Zyrtec On pediatrician recommendation, Which don’t seem to help. Xylitol nasal spray offers a bit of temporary relief but then symptoms just return. I just got good pillow and mattress covers to guard against dust mites. Floors and the room are otherwise clean. We do have pets but she doesn’t react to them when she spends time with them throughout the day. I started diffusing eucalyptus oil in the room which only helps marginally.

Would welcome any suggestions of other things to try while we wait for the doctor appointment. Also open to allergist recommendations in case we could get a sooner appointment somewhere else.

thanks very much!

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I hope you can get an appointment a little sooner. This sounds very similar to the environmental allergies our kiddo experienced. Knowing the trigger is a big help (this can come from the allergy test. Until the nightly flare ups minimized, I kept a journal with date/conditiona/reactions. Sometimes a pattern will emerge (seasonal/activity driven/indoor vs. outdoor/certain buildings). Initially I tried to figure it out day-to-day... but then realized it was better to log observations, and hand my book to the allergist to observe meaningful trends.  

Our kid who had multiple environmental allergies including dust and some pollens and dogs and cats. It was very similar -flare ups at night, made sleeping a challenge. 

Things that helped: dust mite covers on all bedding, latex mattress with dust cover, some special comforter (was it silk? I got it at costco); taking a bath or shower before bedtime every night; humidifier; air filter (hepa), completely unscented "free" detergents for all laundry, unscented "free" soaps for hand/bath/shampoo.

I used to ask the folks at Pharamaca on Solano for things to try -- most allergy-specific items are related... anti-inflammatory herbs in tea or tinctures. One of them may be helpful. We tried them all -- and some did help. They always suggest probiotics, which seemed helpful for our fam. Acupuncture helped my kiddo when he was little, not so much now.

i hope something in here is of use. The flare ups at night are so common. I do think there is a trigger which is just building up by the end of every day. For our kid, there was no one trigger, it was a variety of things that were cumulative -- this is why we got rid of fragrance and additives in all soaps and tried to do the nighty bath and humidifier in room to make them comfortable before bed. 

Look into dust mites.  During college I had horrible allergies and got tested and reacted very badly to dust mites.  Vacuum the mattress try a new pillow?  I now have a latex mattress because I was told it is better for allergies.  

If you don’t already have a great air purifier in her room, get one asap! I have environmental allergies which often barely bother me during the day, but keep me up at night with cold-like symptoms if I don’t have an air purifier in the room. The air purifier solves my problem 100%.

Just a couple ideas - laundry detergent? Our pediatric dermatologist approved of either the Kirkland liquid dye/fragrance free (if you shop at Costco) or All Free & Clear. I know whatever you’re using is also on her clothes, but it’s different when you’re laying in bedsheets and blankets with your head on a pillow. Also no dryer sheets, ever ever. Does she have a bunch of stuffed animals on her bed? Those are also something to remove, at least at first, as you’re trying to figure out what’s causing the allergies. Glad you got the mattress and box spring covered - give that some time. Since it’s bedtime, can you try some full-on Benadryl, just to see if it brings her some relief? If it makes her sleepy, it’s ok! 

Hi - Sorry she's suffering like that; I have a daughter with terrible allergies we've spent years controlling.  Even your pediatrician can order an allergy panel.  It's super fast from a blood draw.  Berkeley Pediatrics just had a new one done for us and we had results in 5 days.  There are many ones you can order online these days too!  

For sure a good hepa filter makes a huge difference.  Costco has a Winx that is very affordable and does well.  I use a Molecule in my room, and it's made a huge difference.  It's often dust mites, and they live in all soft stuff like bedding, carpet, and stuffed animals.  Remove as many of those from her bedroom as possible as a test for a few weeks and see if you notice a difference.

2 other things we are doing that really help: KVP is a supplement for the gut lining that helps reduce histamine, and we've noticed a big difference.  There are others like this - I think Pharmica carrier DHist which is working the same way.  Also, Halotherapy (dry salt therapy) is where you breathe dry salt for 10 minutes. It has an immediate effect and relief.  There's an at-home product you can order called Fend that is working similarly and we do dry salt therapy at the Brain Spa in Albany.

Good luck!

It’s so hard to give advice before your daughter sees an Allergist!  If it is while she is sleeping and maybe dust mites, the comforter she uses is really important. We got ours from Mission Allergy at the rec of our Dr., which wasn’t cheap BUT it’s lasted forever and been worth every cent.  Also stuffed animals harbor a lot of dust. We got rid of most and ran the important ones through the wash and continue to do so regularly.  And investing in a quality air purifier makes all the difference too.  Our son was diagnosed with a host of allergies fairly young (including dust mites) and those 3 things made a big difference for us.  Good luck!

Do you have a gas stove, especially an old one? No idea if this is what’s going on, but we had a super old gas stove (and super old hood) that did not have any visible/noticeable problems and I read this that gas can sometimes be problematic health wise. Didn’t think much of it but my husband used to suffer from constant year round sneezing/congestion, and when we recently redid our kitchen and got a new stove (also gas but much newer and with a powerful hood) his issues instantly disappeared. 

Hello! I learned earlier this year from my son's (he's 4) allergist he is allergic to nearly all environmental samples on the test panel.  He now takes children's Zyrtec (we buy at Costco, called children's allertec) nightly.  While you wait to see the allergist you could also get an encasement for the duvet too, keep air filters running, and if you have carpet or rugs, to vacuum 1-2x per week. Showering/bathing daily could also help remove allergens. Good luck! I hope the root cause has an easy solution for your little one.

Sorry to hear. I have very sensitive adult children who are sensitive to their environment. What we’ve learned—eliminate surfaces that can gather dust particularly in bedroom (rugs, carpeting, rough or unfinished walls). Use a good air purifier in that room. 
(Coway excellent) Sheets should be untreated cotton and washed often with eco-friendly UNSCENTED laundry detergent. Do not use dryer sheets. Use wool balls to “soften” laundry in dryer. Buy mattress and pillow covers specifically for people w allergies. (Online stores) Buy a new hypo-allergenic pillow. (No down or feathers). 

As others have suggested, she may be allergist to dust mites. She may also be allergic to something in her room such as feathers in the comforter. 

Stop using eucalyptus. It is toxic. 

Molds are more active at night. An air cleaner might help. It may also help to close the windows at night. 

You mention that you have pets. Your daughter could be allergic to them, and still not react enough during the day to trigger a reaction. After a lifetime of cat ownership, I started suspecting that I am allergic to cats. I am fine during the day, but my nose is stuffy at night, and recently I've started waking up coughing, feeling like my chest is tight. We recently got a new mattress, new pillows, mite proof protectors, the whole gamut, so it's probably not dust mites (at least not just dust mites). So I went and washed all my bedding, vacuumed really well, ran the air purifiers all day, and kept the cats out of the bedroom. I am sleeping much better. It's not 100% better, so I probably have to see a doctor, but it feels so good not to wheeze at night. Try making your daughter's bedroom an allergen free room. No pets, no plants, no essential oils (!!!!), and keep the air purifier running, change into clean pet-free pajamas before bed. See if that helps. Good luck with your allergist visit!

The community's responses are all on point. The eucalyptus is toxic, as it does a quick fix then makes things worse. Yes, the scent free and eco-friendly (Seventh Generation Free and Clear) laundry of the bedding is so important, the 100% cotton bedding, the air purifying and dust control and keeping an open window are all excellent ideas. If the bed is a problem, remove the bed from the room and try a clean air mattress for a week or so and see if that helps. Your goal is to make the bedroom a clean room, as it were. Does your little one sleep better in other rooms? As for relief and building your child's immune system, integrative and alternative care of all sorts can help. My Naturopath recommends a pediatric acupuncturist, Janet Thomson of Janet Thomson Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine (415-652-4096) and my daughter, with her environmental allergies similar to your child's, has gotten relief from acupuncture, chiropractic, osteopathy and other such support care.  This is a road of trial and error, stay positive!

I am so sorry to hear. My child is allergic to so many known and unknown things. Allergy does seem to get worse and at bedtime. Through trial and error, we learned that our child reacts to tide brand detergent, although it’s free and clear. 7th generation unscented detergent is tolerated well, and we do double rinse for bedding. (I know it’s bad for the drought but …) we use an air purifier at night use daily histamine. Zyrtec is the one that works best for us but it’s again trial and error. We also got rid of down and wool material and switched to synthetic. It turns out child is allergic to wool! We thought it was dust but panel test show child is not allergic to dust mites. We do notice that it’s worse during fire /smoke season and when it’s raining. Your pediatrician should be able to order allergy test and get you on a wait list for a full panel test. We are with Kaiser and have been waiting for a test for several months. My heart goes out to you. It’s so hard to see our little ones suffer.