Really Bad Allergies in 3 Year Old, Particularly at Night

Updated on March 28, 2014
S.S. asks from New York, NY
18 answers

Our LO recently started to suffer from allergies, and a blood test confirmed that. He's okay during the day - may just have a runny nose and occassionally red eyes, but nothing else. Patanol or pataday drops really help with the eyes and the nose isn't a big deal. The horror comes at night when his nose gets stuffed up, he snores, coughs a lot, wakes up, cries, and doesn't sleep well overall. This has been going on for almost a month now and I'm tirrrred and need sleep because I am up with our son quite frequently to comfort him, either for a few minutes or half the night. We've tried Allegra, which didn't seem to help and may have made things worse, as well as regular (non-brand) Allergy reliever, which maybe helped a little. We also put saline drops in his nose before he goes to bed, which helps, but only for the first few hours of the night. What have you tried or given to your kids to help with allergies, particularly at night?

Thanks!

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So What Happened?

5/4 - We've been to an allergist, who confirmed our son is allergic to pollen, which is everywhere right now. She recommended children's Alegra or Zyrtec. (We went to the allergist for immune system concerns, which is why his blood was drawn. Fortunately, his immune system was perfectly fine and his allergies were very much under control at the time). He's usually not a great sleeper but never coughs in his sleep or has nose issues like this, so we know this is allergy related. I also used to have bad allergies, but mine were in the fall and I've grown out of them, so I'm hopeful he will as well. I will try to find Children's Zyrtec and give that for a few weeks to see if that works, if not will switch to Benedryl. We just hid the humidifier, but will pull that out. I like the Vaporub idea - we always put it on his chest when he's sick and congested; hadn't thought to do that now. Will try to elevate him but our kid moves around so much he'd wind up under hte pillow in an hour ;). I'm a neat freak in many ways so I vacuum, dust and wash the house regularly, including everything in and around our son's bed/room. Thanks for all the responses; keep them coming. Will post another update in a few days!

5/9/11- Turns out our little guy was suffering from allergies as well as starting a really bad cold. His pedi gave him prescription drops for his nose which helped him sleep one night but then the cold came in and he developed a wet cough. He's sleeping MUCH better now; we still see the runny nose and red eyes but this is much more manageable than before. I've also propped him up on a pillow and surprisingly, he actually likes it and sleeps most of hte night on it - amazing! We also bought a HEPA air filter, so I'm sure that is helping as well. Thanks to everyone for your suggestions!

Featured Answers

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M.B.

answers from San Antonio on

Dear S.,
Try with kids Nasonex, that seems to work for my LO. the other thing what you can do to relieve his coughing is elevate his head on two pillows, so his nose will not get stuffed up.

hope that will help.

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M.P.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Zyrtec has helped a lot for my son. YOu have to give it a week or 2 to kick in though. And no bad side effects.

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S.H.

answers from Honolulu on

Allergies, tends to appear worse at night BECAUSE:

He has runny nose = post nasal dripping = when lying down AT night = the nasal secretions and post nasal drip, drips down his throat = post nasal drip causes coughing and triggers the cough/gag reflex = snoring due to stuffed nose = coughs more = wakes up a lot = cries because of discomfort = NO sleep = Over-tired kid the next day = symptoms are better during the day because he is not lying down = thus daytime the symptoms are not exacerbated = the symptoms gets more pronounced at night because he is lying down and the secretions gets in the way = back to the beginning = repeated cycle.

Allergy remedies are (and each one works for some and not for others, it works differently for each person):
Allegra
Claritin
Zyrtec ( I hate Zyrtec it makes me feel weird)
Benadryl (but this causes drowsiness)

You might also get: an air purifier/air filter for HIS room.

Saline drops: it helps with nasal congestion and breaks up stuffiness. It does NOT 'stop' the nasal secretions.

Allergy meds: this dries up the nasal secretions and has antihistimines in it.

All the best,
Susan

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C.S.

answers from Milwaukee on

I feel your pain.

Try keeping a vaporizer in his room-I think warm mist works best in this instance-to help keep his throat from getting dry. When my son is really having a bad time I give him Benadryl before bed-helps them sleep and helps dry them up.

Sometimes a breathing treatment like a nebulizer which your doc could prescribe helps too-he can use it before bed. Or even a 'puffer" as we call them-an inhaler. Helps settle the cough and clear the chest.

Zyrtec seems to work best for us. Keep his head elevated-windows closed and fans off-so that the allergens aren't moving around the room.

I'd also consider an air purifier for his room.

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N.A.

answers from Chicago on

Oh My Goodness! I have been having that lately! And let me tell you, it's definately NOT a fun thing to go through! I have tried the Allegra and it did'nt do anything for me either! I would try the Vick's vaporizer at night time for him so that he can breath. I would also contact his doctor and see if they make a children's Sudafed, I had taken Sudafed and I literally slept like a baby, no stuffy chest or nose! I'm really not sure if they make it for children though I'm sure that there is something similar to it that you can give to him at night. I hope he gets over his allergie's real soon, it's definately not fun to have to go through! Good Luck!

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M.L.

answers from Erie on

Everything settles down into their chest at night when they are laying down unfortunately. We experience the same thing with our son too. We just try to keep him as elevated as possible, give nice warm baths before bed and definitely keep a humidifier running in the bedroom and a little vicks on his chest. We also give him some benedryl before going to bed (but try during the day first because sometimes it tends to make kids hyper instead of sleep!). what is he allergic to?

also, do you see an actual allergist/allergy dr? if not, i would suggest going to one. they may help more than the regular dr can just cause of their experience. how long did you try the allegra/benedryl for? it may take a bit to ramp up and work.

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A.S.

answers from San Diego on

Saine is good but you should have him elevated a little at night so that his nose doesn't get stuffy. There is a saline rinse for kids called neill med sinus rinse, I would talk to the pediatrician about that and see if he can tell you or ask a pharmacist where to get one. Also humidifier at night would probably help. But keep his head elevated and do the saline rinse an hour or so before bed. Use an air purifier in the room to help with the allergies and maybe wash his stuffed animals or sanitize them more often.

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N.J.

answers from Los Angeles on

I'm in the same boat as you with my 3 year old son, except the OTC medication do work, but OH my God it turns my little guy into a TERROR! At first I thought it was because of the sleepless nights and generally not feeling well. But each time I stopped the meds, he went back to his sweet ol' self. So unfortunately for me I am choosing not to medicate. Bendaryl & Allegra didn't cause behavioral issues with him, but both wiped him out royal.

So I went ahead and just ordered this nasal spray caused Xlear. Some swear by it! I thought I'd go ahead and give it shot. Might worth discussing with his Allergist to see if it might work for him too! Also would recommend a HEPA filter and/or air purifier in his room! It does dry the room out tho' so I hang a damp towel (or run the humidifier) just so his nasal passages don't get overly dried out!

Good Luck hope you find something that works for your little guy!

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A.P.

answers from Gainesville on

Benadryl works wonders and usually zonks them right out too! Works great for adults too!

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S.S.

answers from Daytona Beach on

this isn't really medicine related, but have you looked into maybe it's his pillow, or blanket that he's sleepign with that makes it worse at night?

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S.K.

answers from Dallas on

When it is really bad I give my kids benadryl. Not sure what the dosage for a 3 year old would be. Also, you might try changing the pillow if he had one, washing everything he sleeps with like teddy, blankets, etc. Also, cleaning under the bed and dusting everything might help. When my sons room needs to be dusted his allergies go nuts.

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R.K.

answers from Odessa on

I give my 3 year old daughter Zyrtec. It works well. It is not recommended to use a regular vaporizer (the ones that use heat) for long term use because it can cause mold to grow in the room where it is used. Would probably make allergies worse. Also, there are a lot of different allergy medicines out there. You just have to find the one that works best for your child. Good luck.

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M.O.

answers from New York on

My son has responded amazingly well to local honey. We just got some local wildflower honey at our neighborhood health-food co-op and put it on his cereal and in his fruit smoothies. He went from coughing terribly all night to no allergic symptoms whatsoever -- I swear. I did NOT have a lot of faith in this when I tried it, but worked much, much better than the antihistamines I'd been giving him, which dealt with the symptoms but not the underlying cause. The key thing is that you need *local* honey. The chain brand they sell in the supermarket is really just high-fructose corn syrup processed via bees (yuck, right?) and won't do a thing toward desensitizing kids to pollen allergens.

Good luck!

Mira

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D.S.

answers from Houston on

try mattress encasings and pillow incasing probably dust mites no stuffed animals either. have you had his ears checked sometimes it will play back and forth. oh and nix the humidifier I just read your update a humidifier will encourage dust mites which is probably your problem try a dehumidifier and get a hepa filter for his room

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K.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

Investigate Vernal Allergic Conjunctivitis. It is more common among boys than girls. I know a lot about it as I spent years arguing with my doctor about my sons eyes. It was stressful for me and debilitating for him! He is now 14 and after suffering for approx 12 years seems to have grown out of it. (Touch wood)

These things will help-

-oral antihistamines daily (clarentyne is non drowsy)
-Zaditen eyes drops on mild days (no prescription required)
-steroid eye drops for bad days ( this is where your fight comes in with regular GPs doctors! Most state "one eye bacterial, two allergy". No!!! This is wrong! You CAN have only one eye at a time affected and also sometimes both eyes. They will also say discharge means bacterial infection. No!! Vernal Allergic Conjunctivitis has a white string like discharge. You will know it when you see it. Fight for the drops for your sons comfort)
-cold compresses -(we used to wet a face washer/flannel and wrap a ice pack inside it. My sons used these daily for years!)
-if there is white stringy discharge you can clean the eye with soft muslin and saline solution.

I would like someone not to have to go through what we went through so if I can help in any way please email me [email protected]____.com

I wish you all the best.

K.

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M.H.

answers from Atlanta on

Hi S.,

Allergies can go away. Mine are completely gone. So are my kids. We started a good, absorbable multivitamin so the body had the nutrition it needed to work right and I also detoxified our home. We removed everything synthetic because synthetic things work AGAINST the immune system so that the immune system is not strong enough to fight off the natural things like flowers, pollens, puppies, and foods. Our bodies are not supposed to have problems with natural things.

If you're interested in trying what I did I will be glad to walk you through it. It was simple and inexpensive the way I did it. I HATE seeing little ones miserable!

God bless,

M.

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A.P.

answers from New York on

We do Zyrtec at night and sometimes gaufisen (dries up the congestion). Be sure to bath and wash his hair every night to rid the allergens before going into his room or bed.

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B.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

I can't understand why his doctor would go as far as drawing blood to confirm the allergies but than stop short of prescribing a plan for dealing with them!

My girls have taken Claritin as needed since age two. They also use a prescription steroid nasal spray (Nasonex or Fluticasone) when needed. The nasal spray shrinks the nasal passages and provides faster relief.

For those times when they have a lot of post nasal drip that keeps them awake coughing, the pediatrician has given a prescription cough syrup that includes a different class of antihistamine.

When these methods fail to control them then it is time to consider immunotherapy (shots).

I would make an appointment with your pediatrician or allergist so that they can get his allergies under control and determine what he needs to keep them under control.

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