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 house dust mites. Some children have both types of rhinitis.
Food allergies cause a runny nose less often, but if your child's allergy symptoms get worse after certain foods, then a trial of avoidance should be carried out. The foods that cause problems most commonly are milk, eggs, peanuts, soybeans, and wheat.
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, air pollution and/or pets to which they have become sensitized.
Learn more about allergic rhinitis.