26 answers

Advise on Dr. Prescription

I took my 10 year old son to the doctor with symptoms including a soar throat and stuffy nose. The nurse did a quick strep test that came back negative. When the doctor came in he said it was probably his sinuses. He looked in his ears and found them to be normal. Then he looked in his throat and said that he was going to prescribe him singulair and zyrtec because he felt that my son has allergies and not a virus. This just sounds fishy to me. We have never been told that my son has allergies and now suddenly we are being told that he should take two medications everyday for the rest of his life. If anyone has had a similar experience or has any thoughts about it, I would greatly appreciate some feedback.

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Thanks for all the response. First I have to clarify our situation. We are in the military so we never see the same dr twice. Getting a referral to a specialist is next to impossible. I normally wouldn't have taken him to the dr, but schools require a note in order for it to be excused and I was afraid he had strep. As far as the meds go, they cost me nothing so thats not an issue. He may very well have some mild allergies and I think that I will try the meds after we give it a week or so to see if his current symptoms clear up. Funny thing is, the dr said that the singulair had no side effects and that the zyrtec might make him sleepy. He also said that when taken together, they work parallel together. He also said that we could skip the zyrtec sometimes, but that the singulair should be taken everyday

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If you are concerned about allergies see a specialist and have a poke test done, I had to take in my 3 year old and its no big deal but can tell you a ton. That way you could avoid meds altogether by knowing what triggers his allergies!

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I started having allergies when I was 12. My eyes got so itchy it drove me nuts. I took some otc meds for a short time. I rarely need anything but when it gets bad, I take something. You could wait a little while and see if it gets better, or give him the meds--or maybe just one--and see what happens there. My husband gets the same symptoms a few times a year and takes allergy meds for a few days and then is fine.

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You can become allergic to anything at any age. Does'nt really sound fishy to me at all. If you do not want to spend the money on prescriptions then you might want to try over the counter Zyrtec or Claritin. Plus the generic is cheaper. He may not have to take the pills the rest of his life. Some just need it seasonal.

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Here is a pharmacist take. The zyrtec is an antihistamine. One of the side effects of this medication is that it dries up secretions such as the mucus plugging up your son's nose and going down his throat making it sore. So even if it is a virus instead of seasonal allergies, this would definitely help with his symptoms. Typically Zyrtec is much cheaper to buy over the counter rather than going through insurance. The Singular is going to be better for allergies since it interferes with one of the allergy cascades in the body. You can definitely hold off on this for a week or so and see if the Zyrtec helps. Personally, discovered that I am allergic to dust about your sons age, then developed hay fever systoms later in my teens. I did not take anything regularly until my late-20s when I moved to what has to be the allergy capital of the US. I take OTC Claritin or Zyrtec and Singular (which truly works for me probably better than the antihistamine stuff). Anyway, don't worry right now about your son being on these medications for the rest of his life. For what you are describing these can be used for short periods to clear up a short term problem.

4 moms found this helpful

Allergies can come up at any time in a person's life. Sometimes it happens at the age your son is because many things are changing in his body at that time--and possibly even his activity levels are putting him outside or in contact with an allergen more than he was when he was younger as well.

But one thing that medical doctors don't typically get trained in is the REASON for allergies. Taken wholistically, allergic reactions are the body's way of saying that something is bothering it and preventing that allergen from getting in. Having a stuffy nose, for example, really means that a bunch of mucous is blocking entry to pollen or mold in the air, so it doesn't get into his internal system. The problem with allergies is that usually what is happening is a HYPER reaction to the allergen, rather than a reasonable and appropriate level. Somehow the body gets oversensitized and overreacts. One of the problems with using medications to stop the symptoms is that, even if the side effects don't bother him or even if it does alleviate things, what is really happening is that the problem gets pushed further into the body since it's natural reaction is being fought against. Many homeopaths I have spoken with about this say that they have learned from experience with treating asthma that there is often an allergy first. With homeopathic treatment, often the body "goes backwards" as it kicks out the illness--so someone being treated for asthma loses those symptoms but starts showing allergic symptoms again. Then the homeopathic treatment adjusts to work with the allergy, and the patient is no longer either allergic or asthmatic. But this tells homeopaths that suppressing the symptoms of allergies is one thing that causes asthma--that asthma is really also a symptom of allergies, suppressed.

A wholistic practitioner--someone who looks at how the entire body functions as a system, rather than isolating symptoms and trying to stop them--such as a naturopath, a homeopath, an acupuncturist, an herbalist, or a nutritionist--will approach things differently than just giving a medication designed to stop the "histamine" from affecting your son. Instead, that person may look at what is going on that has led to an oversensitization in the first place--perhaps dietary impurities such as artificial colors or flavors are bothering him, for example.

I know of many people who have had allergies completely or partially alleviated through nutritional therapy--either cutting out offending foods or substances, or adding in certain nutrients that may not be adequate in the diet or getting absorbed properly--and through acupuncture or homeopathy.

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how long has he had these symptoms? first of all, i wouldnt do it. even if it were true, pediatricians would refer you to an allergist. secondly, allergies many people have, but to be medicated for them, you would have a more lengthly history. im getting the impression you took him there and just because he didnt have strep throat, they said allergies. my daughter never has ear problems when she is sick but her throat hurts before a cold starts. thats how i am whenver i get a cold too. throat first, then cold. never get a fever unless its a really bad one.

im not saying he doesnt have allergies, he might. but i just think he could have sent you home saying it might be allergies, see if it goes away in 2 days by itself as a cold would, if not, see an allergist. why prescribe medicine without at least seeing if he gets a fever or feels fine in a day. what makes him so sure, not everyone always gets a fever with a virus. my husband had a negative strep test, followed my a positive one, so clearly the test isnt 100%.

i have slight allergies now, although i never did until 3 years ago. my sister has them terribly for years. i think your son will be able to tell you his symptoms if they continue if its allergies. and for everyone i know, the eyes are always involved. maybe not everyone, but the majority, you can tell its allergies by looking at their eyes.

if you give the medicine without waiting a few days, you wont know if its a cold thats better or the medicine works. as for the prick test, i dont think its reliable. my dad did it, and they said he was allergic to some type of weed, which he probaly was. then they said grass, maybe. then it said cats and dogs. we had cats and dogs our whole life. my dads current dog sleeps on my dads head at night on the pillow. we had cats that my dad would be petting for hours. he clearly has no reaction to them but the allergist is like "oh, yeah, allergic to cats and dogs". im just saying, be cautious with the results of a prick test.

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M., it is very common to show up about this time in a person's life. I am not saying this is what your son has, but it is certainly a very realistic possibility. Certain allergens are off the chart right now in Texas. If you aren't sure, then take him to an allergy specialist. You have great options in the military so insist on it. The allergist will give your son a skin test, which is NO big deal at all. The skin test would put to rest any questions you may have in your mind. It would tell you one way or another if your son is allergic to something and if so, what he is allergic to. I have terrible allergies. I developed them around your son's age. My parents ignored the symptoms, they didn't want me to be on too much medicine and as a result I was pretty much sick my entire teenage years. I don't ever remember feeling good. As a young adult, I saw an allergist, started taking zyrtec and singulair and they changed my life. You are your son's advocate... insist on getting some answers for him.

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Hi M. M,

Many kids develop some types of allergies as they grow. It is easy to manage. Of my three kids, one has a lot of allergies, one has occasional mild issues and the third has no problems whatsoever.

Your doctor probably suggested this to see if your son's issues would improve once he takes the medications. Since it is hard to see specialists, you might choose to observe your son for flare ups and try medicating just at those times. If he gets better each time you try this, you might be satisfied to medicate - you'll decide as he grows.

Some kids have more allergy problems. I brought my son to an allergist for testing and then we proceeded with medications as needed (not year-round.) This great doctor helped my son get to a healthier, happier phase of his life. As a college student, he is now old enough to recognize his symptoms (which are less than they used to be) and treat himself.

We all have health issues on occasion. This is definitely something you and your son can handle.

Good luck,
Parent Coach J. B.

1 mom found this helpful

If you are concerned about allergies see a specialist and have a poke test done, I had to take in my 3 year old and its no big deal but can tell you a ton. That way you could avoid meds altogether by knowing what triggers his allergies!

1 mom found this helpful

I started having allergies when I was 12. My eyes got so itchy it drove me nuts. I took some otc meds for a short time. I rarely need anything but when it gets bad, I take something. You could wait a little while and see if it gets better, or give him the meds--or maybe just one--and see what happens there. My husband gets the same symptoms a few times a year and takes allergy meds for a few days and then is fine.

1 mom found this helpful

Seasonal Allergies (Hay fever, pollen, rag weed, etc) is more likely, and I very much doubt Singulair and Zyrtec would have to be taken every day for the rest of his life. More like a month or two until the ragweed is finished.
By all means, take your son to an allergist if you want a second opinion.

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It could just be allergies, but If he is still not doing well I would take him back to the doctor, sometimes quick strep can come back negative and be wrong did they do the quick and regular? they should have done two...My son suffers from sore throat often also and he takes claritin and flonase but dont let the doctor excuse allergies as the culprit every time because he has also had strep and viruses in addition, and allergies can lead to infections of the throat and nasal passages also sometimes you gotta be a little pushy with militarty docs and come in having done your own research!

1 mom found this helpful

You can become allergic to anything at any age. Does'nt really sound fishy to me at all. If you do not want to spend the money on prescriptions then you might want to try over the counter Zyrtec or Claritin. Plus the generic is cheaper. He may not have to take the pills the rest of his life. Some just need it seasonal.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't know where you live, but if you live in Texas, allergies are very common. If your son had a virus, his throat may be red but he will also have a slight to high grade fever. If not, then it probably is just allergies. He may not have to take them the rest of his life. There are allergens that some are allergic to and some aren't. It just may be his season.

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Did he not go over why he felt those would help, or why he believes your son has allergies? Or why he prescribed two medications? Often times, Dr.s prescribe two meds, then gives the choice on which you would like to fill after you speak to a pharmacist about it. Is that the case here?

Allergies can appear at anytime, mine did when I was a late teen. If they are mild, over the counter Claritin or Zyrtec is decent for bad days (my husband and I both have allergies). But some people need stronger, and frankly, if you have insurance coverage, getting prescribed meds are probably cheaper than over the counter Claritin as well.

You could always get a second opinion, or try out the meds and see if they help. Usually those meds don't need to be taken every day, just on days when allergies act up, especially if they are seasonal. Ears can be normal if one has allergies by the way.

Allergies can pop up at any time. My oldest takes a claritin every day since he turned 11. He never had any issues before then.

There are lots of things you can do to avoid the meds- any local honey, high powered air filters in the house, etc. But, unless the dr puts him on steroids, the meds are the easiest option.

Good Luck!

I'm sorry to hear that you son has not been feeling great! I'm a mom of two little girls and my first daughter suffered from severe hives and allergies when she was very little. We went to the doctors several times and had allergy testing and they could never really give us answers and would just tell us to medicate her. We were told to keep her on Zyrtek daily and they said it could be for years to come. Well, I was not o.k. with that. We then learned that many doctors and researchers are linking the chemicals found in our everyday products to the increase in allergies, asthma, eczema, cancer and more. We found out about the chemicals in many products and we switch to shopping at an amazing wellness company that has been in business for 25 yrs. They offer products that are much safer for our families and the environment and I love that we get them at wholesale cost, so we save money! We also save time because they are shipped directly to our door. After switching out our everyday products my daughter no longer gets hives or suffers from allergies. She was able to very quickly stop taking the Zrytek all together! This company & their safer everyday products have helped so many find great relief! I would love to share the full details with you and help your family like mine has been help. Feel free to visit this site and request more details and I will give you a call so we can discuss finding a way to help your son feel better without medicating him for life which can cause horrible long term effects. http://www.livetotalwellness.com/freedom

Just wanted to say kids can grow out of allergies. I had them bad most of my life (I am allergic to dust and roaches) hence living in an older house here in TX I had exposure constantly. When I moved away to college poof they were gone...so just because he takes medication that some people use for the rest of their lives doesn't mean he is going to. So just give it to him when he needs!

when i turned eight i developed food allergies then finally got over them in seventh grade. so yeah the development of allergies could be a very big possiblity. if you try the meds and they dont work go for a second opnion. good luck hope your little man is feeling better soon.

I was born in Texas, but never had any allergy problems until I moved to Central Texas. I was in my 20's when I developed seasonal allergies. I use OTC medications only as needed. My daughters were born in Central Texas and developed seasonal allergies at an early age. With me, my husband, and my two daughters we all have seasonal allergies, but not during the same seasons. We have tried various medications to find what works for us. Each of us uses a different medication from cetirizine to diphenhydramine to loratadine. The general rule our pediatrician gave us is if the runny nose is clear, then it is allergies. If the mucous is any color (white, yellow, green...) then it is something else.
We just found out one of my daughters has other allergies. This was based on a preliminary blood test administered by her pediatrician. She also referred us to an allergist for more specific tests.

Oh, I get so angry about this subject. Dr's (at least in central Texas) call everything they can't figure out allergies. My 2.5 year old daughter had a string of colds for 3 months. We did try the various allergy medicines and nothing helped. Eventually saw an ENT and got her adenoids out. 2 months of health, then a string of ear infections. Both dr's still insisted allergies was the trigger. Had to get tubes in her ears and she's been healthy ever since. Finally were able to get the prick test done to find out if she really had allergies (we couldn't do it earlier because she had several rashes). Turns out she was allergic to nothing - except all those freaking medications!!! I am not saying your son needs the surgeries my daughter had, but I would highly recommend seeing an allergist and getting the prick test done before committing to medication. Do your own research on allergies, too. The Mayo Clinic and WebMD have very good reputable websites.

Just wait a week or two and if it's a virus it will go away. It makes no sense to put your son on medications right away.

My kids never had allergies until about ages 12 and 14, about 6 yrs. after we had been in TX. People are not born with allergies....they are a result of exposure to allergens over time.

My kids are on Zyrtec---it really helps. I am on an OTC allergy med. And you would be amazed how much better we all feel!!!
And we are not necessarily on meds for the rest of our lives, too. So having allergies is not despairing.
We take our meds in the spring and the fall when our allergies flare up, and the rest of the year we seldom take them.

Zyrtec is now over the counter and you don't need scrip. Ask the doc if you can just start with the Zyrtec and see what happens.

As an allergy sufferer, I can tell you that being able to think and breathe is wonderful....and the meds and a sinus rinse are great!

Another route to take might be to check in with a Naturopathic physician. Chiropractors also have helped many people with allergies. I'd also investigate the underlying cause if it is allergies and get to the source rather than just treat the symptoms. Hope you find something that works for him.

OH MY GOODNESS! You should find yourself a new pedi! I'm usually not a harsh person (or all that opinionated, for that matter) but I am when it comes to this topic. It seems as if everyone these days chalks up a runny or stuffy nose to allergies. I have had numerous friends bring their sick kids around my kids (and tell me their sneezing and nose is just from allergies). People are throwing around the word "allergy" all too often these days. I never want to offend my friends and say, no, this is a virus (and sure enough, my kids ALWAYS end up catching their colds). Go with your gut. You would know if your son had allergies. Allergies linger (unlike a cold). The symptoms are most often less harsh than a cold/virus too. An allergy pill may help with sneezing and dry him up while the virus runs it's coarse, but I would certainly not continue giving it to him unless she shows allergy symptoms more often than not. It sounds to me that this pedi just wanted you out of there as quickly as possible. That's ridiculous. By the way, I have really bad allergies (and I have had them since I was a kid). I am pretty well educated on this topic. Allergies are more prevalent than ever before (probably due to all of the chemicals we are exposed to today in everyday products, household items and processed foods). However, I'm no doctor and I would bet money that your son has a virus. Poor guy. Good luck.

I wouldn't assume he needs to take the Rx's every day, but I'd at least follow the pediatrician's advice at this point in time.

I was around 12 when I began to have seasonal allergies. Depending on the weather conditions over the summer, my symptoms can be really severe (requiring me to take medications through my trouble season) or they can be mild in which case I only take them to control symptoms.

His body may have slowly developed the allergies, and he may only now be recognizing them and able to convey them.

If you can believe it, I know a doctor (Family Physician) who learned only about 2 years ago that he has severe food allergies. He had thought it was asthma all these years and finally couldn't take it anymore. He is allergic to just about anything. He was in his late 30's at the time of his diagnosis, and he knew what to look for.

I'd at least get him started on one of the medications - ask the pharmacist to explain how they're different and select which you're comfortable with him taking (Zyrtec can be sedating). Ask about side effects and when you should administer.

Good luck.

Personally, I wouldn't start giving two medications at the same time because then how will you know which is being effective? Maybe try giving him only Zyrtec for a day or two and see if it changes anything. Zyrtec can dry up post-nasal drip which can cause a sore throat. It also generally has fewer side effects and is less costly than Singulair which is why I would try that one first. (My 4 yr old son has allergic rhinitis and he had awful night terrors when he was on Singulair.) If Zyrtec doesn't help in a day or so, then it's probably not allergies and maybe it's just a virus like you suspect.

Lots of things are in bloom right now. My allergist told me that over the last few years that there has been a big spike in new allergy sufferers.

Whether he needs to take them for 'the rest of his life', I can't say. I personally don't like Singular. My nephew and friend's kid were on it. It made them 'wired'. If you are uncomfortable giving him both at the same time, ask him about just taking the zyrtec.

You could also talk to an allergy specialist, or try some OTC medicines like Children's Claritin or Children's Dimetapp Cold & Allergy to see if any of those help.

I wouldn't want to put my kids on any meds they would have to take for the rest of their lives unless I was sure it was absolutely necessary.

My daughter had a terrible cough that no doctors or specialists could find a treatment for. They blamed it on allergies but nothing helped.

We finally went to a naturopathic doctor. Be sure to get a referral from someone you trust as their are some weird ones out there. Anyway, the lady was able to determine what was causing the cough and with natural supplements her system was cleaned out and her cough is gone. Now she just takes a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement.

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