Giving a Preschooler Daily Allergy Medication

Updated on March 27, 2010
D.B. asks from Grand Prairie, TX
14 answers

My Doctor has prescribed my son (who will turn 2 in 2 days) Zyrtec to take daily. have other moms had good experiences with their preschool kids on Zyrtec? My son has very frequent runny nose/congestion which then turns into secondary infection (ear infection). My mom thinks I should get him allergy tested. Is that a practical thing to do at his young age? Any body else had their 2 yr old allergy tested? What then happens after testing? I have never had allergies myself and am relying on other people's advice (and of course the peditrician).How long do preschoolers stay on allergy meds and is drowsiness very common? Tell me mamas!

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answers from Dallas on

There is no way I would give it to my kid everyday (no matter what age). Allergies range by day/time of year/etc. I have given my 3 year old zyrtec if I notice his nose is really runny (with clear fluid) and he's sneezing/red eyes. If the zyrtec helps then I know it was allergies and I may give him another dose the next day but usually afterwards he's fine. I have never give it more than 3 days in row. If I were you I would just try a small does when you notice true allergy symptoms and see if it helps. It is supposed to be non-drowsy and it is for my son. But you can give it as an as-needed basis and if a dr. tries to tell you otherwise I would switch doctors! I am married to a family doctor and he would never tell a patient that, allergies just change too much and too frequent to be on some drug 24/7. Just my opinion. Good luck and hopefully you can find a solution. I also second the saline drops, I use those on him about 3-4 times a day (right after he goes potty) and they do help and no drugs, just salt water. But you have to be consistent with them to see benefits too.

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answers from Dallas on

Please get the little guy allergy tested first. You can do a blood test. I know it may be a little annoying for him but there are so many things that he could have that could contribute to the symptoms you are describing. My family dr and my son's pediatrician wanted to put him on daily allergy meds when he had symptoms of a night cough runny nose and secondary infection in his ears. They were adamant that this was the problem. When i took him to the allergy and asthma dr they said they were sure that it wasn't allergies based on his history. He had a blood test and he has no allergies long story short after trying heaps of meds with no repsonse we finally worked out after seeing a great Pediatric ENT specialist that all he had was a continuing sinusitis and that was causing all of the other symptoms.

Hope this helps. Good Luck

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answers from Phoenix on

Both my girls take zyrtec every day. My oldest daughter started it at age 4 and my little girl was 2. Both of my daughters and one of my sons have been allergy tested. I would def. recommend it. They do about what is called a scratch test. They lay on their belly and the nurse will write numbers on the child’s back, I think it is about 24.. Then they do a little scratch with the allergen next to each number. You wait about 20 min to see if there is any reaction. The nurse will measure the size of the red mark next to each number. It is not painful... it is uncomfortable. It’s not like a shot, there is no actual poke. My kid’s whined a bit, but the lollypop I gave them while they were getting the scratch test kept them pretty happy. One of my daughters came up positive for cats. Both girls have dust, pollen and year round allergies from pollutants. They rate the allergy from stage 1 to 4. 1 being very mild and 4 being BAD! She is a stage 2 to cats and the zyrtec covers it. They both are 2's and 3's their other allergies. They also did a blood test for other allergies. My girls have been on their allergy meds for 4 years now. They also use flonase for their nasal allergies. They have asthma too; they both take singulair, which helps with the allergies and asthma. One takes Advair for her asthma during the spring, pulmicort for summer and then flovent for winter and albuterol for any attacks in between. The other is on Flovent year round, with albuterol for attacks in between. As far as the ear infections go, I would recommend seeing an ENT he may need ear tubes. My oldest daughter got hers at age 6; we should have done it way sooner! But for ear infections I would ask the Doc. for ear drops. When a child uses antibiotics repeatedly, they can build up a tolerance. The ear drops have an antibiotic in them and also an anti-inflammatory. Plus they work way faster! Oh none of my kids have had problems with drowsiness, because we give them their medications before bed. Good luck.

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answers from Dallas on

I tried Zyrtec on my son when he was just over 1 year old, after a bad winter with multiple ear infections and a possible pneumonia. We were at the allergist for blood tests to confirm his peanut allergy, and the MD/PHD allergist was pretty concerned about the constant nasal discharge and severe night time cough. I tried the zyrtec (no effect), and tried baby prevacid for a month (the Dr. convinced me reflux might be causing the sinus stuff, which I believed worth checking out, but the medicine didn't change anything and I don't like long term meds.) Moving the crib out of a carpeted room into one with hard floors made a huge difference in reducing the symptoms, even if the Dr. rolled his eyes at me. I got an allergen-barrier mattress cover, dusted frequently and started taking him to a chiropractor regularly. He still gets sick, but not as frequently and not as severely. I still give benadryl or prescription allergy stuff when his nose is running a lot, but nothing constantly. I also use homeopathy to complement the traditional medicine. They work well for us without side effects or battles over flavor or consistency. If I were an octopus, I'd wash his sinuses too. I believe in that whole-heartedly - my other kids submit to sinus wash when they are congested (but they are older and can at least be bribed!), and I do it myself with great results. The little guy just fights me too hard to get the job done safely. I also give my son zinc, vitamin C and vitamin D supplements to support his immune system. Now at age 3, he's a much healthier kid. Part of it's just age and how the immune system develops, but I think we did some good things to support him.

Good luck



answers from Las Vegas on

Allergy test! You are able to find out what affects him and at least minimize the exposure to that allergen.

Yes, the stuffed nose blocks the sinus which plugs the ear and infection occurs. We use a gel in our daughters nose called Ayer. It looks like vaseline in a tube. It helps keep the sinus moist.

As for the allergies, it is the right time of year when every thing is blooming. We all have asthma and allergies here and we eat local raw bees honey. Very tasty, but better, it keeps us from having allergy symptoms and no drugs.

Allergies alone can make you sleepy. It gives you a drowsy feeling like a head cold. The sinus' are plugged and can turn to infection.

Keep in mind, medications have different reactions to everyone, but you can check out this site. Enter the medication name and see how it has affected others.



answers from Dallas on

We did food allergy testing on my son for the first time when he was 20 months old. Our doctor did blood work (make sure it is the RAST test, because it is the most reliable blood test) then did patch testing from the positive blood results to confirm allergies. I should also mention that my son has a medical condition that predisposes him to multiple (for him, more than 10) severe food allergies. We did all of his testing through an allergist.
If you think that your son has only air allergens that are bothering him, testing him this young might not be very beneficial. My son is now 3 1/2 years old and we just talked to his allergist about air allergen testing. She said that we can test but he can't receive allergy shots until he can reliably tell us that he feels sick (in case he were having a reaction to the shot itself). So the information that it would give us would be to know which days to keep him inside more.
Good luck! I don't know how much all of this has helped you but allergies is one thing we know at our house.



answers from Tucson on

My son is on daily 1/2 tsp Zyrtec since about 3 or a little before. Also at times a nasal medicine (we have tried a few) only when the congestion gets bad. I also swear by Danactive as a source of probiotics for immune system and omega 3 supplements (gummy ones at trader joes now) they make liquids and gels. . I do a fair amt of organic food (apples, milk, berries) and try and vacuum a few times per week. and keep his room dusted. I need to get my dog a bath though! allergy testing can be important but can also be less accurate in younger kids and has a fair amount of inaccuracy. usually you are looking for allergies to common allergens, wheat, milk peanuts etc which generally have more serious symptoms then your son has. I do not see drowsiness w/ zyrtec. I use the smallest dose and then add another small dose if he is still bothered, but this is pretty rare. If I try and skip it (I wish he did not need it daily, he sneezes, usually in the middle of the night)



answers from Fargo on

my oldest(5yrs) has been taking zyrtec for 3 years now. it made him sleepy at first and now not so much. he also takes nasonex?sp every day. since he was 2 also. every one in my house has allergies and they are NOT fun.



answers from Honolulu on

Zyrtec is prescribed/recommended a lot nowadays.
You can look online about its side-effects.
There are other types of allergy med's, for kids.
What works for one child, may not for another.
It can be by "fit" of the med to the child.

It could be allergy, or not. Some people have sensitive sinuses. My Husband and a friend of mine are that way.
But kids also get sick a lot, once in preschool, especially if for the 1st time... then their immune system will sort of get used to it and the many kids around.



answers from Chicago on

we had tests done prior to 6 months. he was on zyrtec and singulair.... we found out allergy to foods. we stopped foods and stopped zyrtec : ) it was just a scratch test, shows a bump if allergic and they clean w/alcohol and its over. about 10 min long. not painful just uncomfortable...
sleepy. yes. stayed on singular cuz of cats that he's allergic to and apparently can PREVENT asthma from starting.



answers from Washington DC on

My son is 22 months and has been taking 5 mg of zyrtec every night before bed for the past 3 months. He doesn't have the post-nasal-drip cough any more and hasn't had any ear infections, despite having 3 colds.



answers from Sacramento on

My son takes Zyrtec (although not every day, just when his the allergies flare up). He's 4. It's worked well for him. No drowsiness. I give it to him in the morning and it lasts all day and night. Without it he has runny nose, scratchy throat and puffy eyes.

When it isn't bad enough that I want to medicate him, I've had success with just a saline nasal spray a few times a day. It seems to keep stuff under control on most days. He only needs the Zyrtec on the high allergy index days.

Hope this helps.



answers from Denver on

I would try saline several times each day before I started on medication. My boy, three years old, has stuffy, runny nose and congestion that we treat with saline each day. Keeping the nasal membranes moist helps keep all the immune stuff working properly. This SHOULD help keep the "secondary" ear infections at bay. Here is website for the product I use for my boy.

You might want to Google 'sinus wash' to see the benefits of saline. I absolutely swear by it. I do a saline wash twice each day, and haven't had any sinus or chest illnesses in about two years.
Good luck.



answers from Dallas on

If you do start to give regular doses of Zyrtec, be very aware of his behavior/attitude and look for changes. I started my son on zyrtec when he was four and his anxiety levels went through the roof. He started having panic attacks and was having major trouble at preschool. Now, I don't blame it all on the Zyrtec and if you are not predisposed to some of these feelings (anxiety, depression, panic attacks) then it may not be an issue, but it really elevated those things in my son. It got better after we got off the medicine and now I am just super aware to look for signs of changes when we start a new medication. Good luck!

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