Media & parents weigh in about challenges with kids' allergy medicine

When seasonal allergies strike, picking up a box of medicine at the drugstore seems like an easy task. But when it comes to treating allergy symptoms in kids, figuring out which medicine to choose and how much to give can be difficult for parents. This month’s Mott Poll report highlighted parents’ experiences with over-the-counter allergy medicines when managing their child’s seasonal allergy symptoms. Media outlets across the country have chimed in on the conversation – here’s a look at what people are saying.

Choosing an allergy medicine

A quick trip down the cold and allergy medicine aisle at any pharmacy offers a seemingly endless selection of medication choices. This struggle was the focus of a CBS News article: How to pick the right allergy medicine for kids. Reporter Ashley Welch discussed parents’ challenge with choosing a medicine that’s right for their child. Mott Poll co-director and pediatrician Dr. Gary Freed suggested parents read the ingredients and choose a medicine that best matches their child’s symptoms – and that doesn’t necessarily mean foregoing generic for a more expensive brand. “It’s really almost always the same medicine,” Dr. Freed said.

Adult vs. kids’ medicine

Instead of venturing out to the store, many parents in the Mott Poll (85%) said they gave their child medicine they already had in the home – but not all parents had medicine labeled for children in the medicine cabinet. Figuring out how much medicine to give when a pediatric dose isn’t provided can be tricky. This was the focus of a piece featured in Parents Magazine: 15 percent of parents admit to giving kids adult allergy medicine. Reporter and mother of two, Hollee Actman Becker, shared her recent experience with her child’s particularly bad allergy symptoms by giving him half a dose of adult medication. She admits it may not have been the best decision, but she, along with 21% of parents in the Mott Poll say it’s hard to figure out the right dose when a pediatric dose isn’t specified.

Advice from an allergist

So what else can parents do to help manage their child’s symptoms? Dr. Georgiana Sanders, a pediatric allergist at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital shared her advice in a Michigan Health blog post: What parents should know about giving allergy medication to children. Dr. Sanders says parents should consider the amount of time they spend outside. “We obviously can’t avoid trees and grass, but we know they produce more pollen in the morning and around dusk – so limit your time outside during those hours,” Dr. Sanders advises. If parents do choose to give their children over-the-counter allergy medication, she suggests talking to the child’s doctor and reading labels carefully. And if choosing a medication still proves difficult, Dr. Sanders says, “It all depends what’s best for the child while maintaining the proper dose and controlling the symptoms.”