All About Allergies!

All About Allergies!

Everyone is excited about spring with the warmer temperatures and sunshine it can bring! However, for those that struggle with allergies, the increased pollens in the air can cause miserable allergy symptoms. Nasal allergies are an allergic reaction of the nose and sinuses to an inhaled substance. Most allergens float in the air. Trees, grass, weeds, and mold are the most common pollens. Tree pollens come in the spring, grass pollens come in the summer, and weed pollens come in the fall. Most nasal allergies continue through pollen season and can last 4 to 8 weeks.

Seasonal pollen allergies usually begin around 2 to 5 years and peak in school-aged children, teens, and young adults. Pollen symptoms are rare in children under 2 since they require at least 2 seasons of exposure to the pollen. If a child under 2 has chronic nasal symptoms, it is most likely due to other causes such as recurrent colds, large adenoids, or a cow’s milk allergy. Fevers do not accompany nasal allergies.


  • Clear nasal discharge with sneezing, sniffing, and itching of the nose
  • Red, watery, itchy, and puffy eyes
  • Ear and sinus congestion or fullness
  • Scratchy, hoarse, or tickly throat
  • Itchy ear canals or skin
  • Symptoms occur during pollen season
  • Similar symptoms occur during the same month of the last year


Have your child shower before bedtime to remove the pollen from the hair and skin. Keep windows closed in the home and the car, and turn on the air conditioner in your car to recirculate to help. Try to avoid window or attic fans which can pull in pollen. It is also helpful to stay indoors on windy days because pollen counts are much higher when it is dry and windy! Last, avoid playing with outdoor dogs, pollen collects in their fur.


The key to controlling allergies is to give allergy medication every day during pollen season. 

  • Allergy medicines are called antihistamines. They are the drug of choice for nasal allergies to help control symptoms such as runny nose, nasal itching, and sneezing.
  • You can give a short-acting allergy over-the-counter medicine such as Benadryl every 6-8 hours.
  • The bedtime dosage is especially important for healing the lining of the nose.
  • You can also use a long-acting over-the-counter allergy medicine such as Zyrtec. This medicine usually lasts up to 24 hours and may cause less drowsiness than Benadryl.


Saline nose drops or spray can help with seasonal allergies and are available at any drugstore without a prescription. This treatment helps to wash out pollen or to loosen up dried mucus. Put 3 drops in each nostril, blow each nostril out while closing off the other nostril, then repeat on the other side. Repeat nose drops and blowing until the discharge is clear.

Use nasal washes when your child can’t breathe through the nose or their nose is very itchy. Saline nose drops can also be made at home. Use ½ teaspoon of table salt, and stir the salt into 1 cup (8 ounces) of warm distilled or boiled water. A warm shower can also be effective to loosen mucus. Have your child breathe in the moist air, then blow each nostril.

If your child’s symptoms are not better in 2 days after starting an allergy medicine, contact the Pediatric Center for an appointment. At the Pediatric Center, we want to give you and your child the best information and treatment you can get. If your child becomes worse or you are concerned about your child’s health for any reason, please don’t hesitate to call the Pediatric Center. You can contact us at our Idaho Falls location at (208) 523-3060 or our Rigby location (208) 745-8927, to set up your appointment. We have a wonderful team of providers available for all of your children’s needs! 




Let’s Talk About Constipation!

Let’s Talk About Constipation!

Being able to go when you need to is something most people take for granted until they can’t! Constipation can happen to anyone no matter how young or old they are. If constipation isn’t taken care of properly, it can become quite painful for children and adults alike. There are some things you can do to help prevent constipation and to help relieve it if it happens to your children.


  • High Milk Diet. Milk and cheese are the only foods that in high amounts can cause constipation.
  • Low Fiber Diet. Fiber is found in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
  • Low Fluid Intake. This is rarely the only cause of constipation, but can contribute to it.
  • Lack of Exercise. Exercise helps keep things moving! This is not usually a cause in children unless they are confined to a bed.
  • Trying not to go due to pain. If going causes pain, many children will hold off on going. This can also happen in the case of bad diaper rash or other health issues.
  • Holding it in because of power struggles. This is the most common cause of recurrent constipation in children. Most often it’s a battle around toilet training. If they are already trained, it may begin with the start of school. Some children refuse to use public toilets or others don’t go because they are too busy to sit down.
  • Slow passage of food through the intestines. This type usually runs in families and is sometimes called slow transit time.


Symptoms can vary from person to person but usually include stomach pain or even crying when trying to use the bathroom. Another symptom is not being able to pass a stool after straining or pushing longer than 10 minutes. Going to the bathroom should be free of pain. Any child with pain during stool passage or lots of straining needs treatment. At the very least, the child should be treated with changes in diet.

The normal range is passing a stool once every 2 days or up to 3 times per day. Once children are on normal table foods, their pattern is like adults. If your child has gone 3 or more days without passing a stool, they could be dealing with constipation. The exception to this is breastfed babies who are over 1 month old.


There are things you can do to help with your child’s constipation. These suggestions vary greatly depending on the age of your child. If your baby is constipated, help them by holding their knees against the chest. This is a natural position for pushing out a stool and can help. Gently pumping the lower stomach may also help. If the constipation is a result of toilet training, it is ok to put your child back in diapers or pull-ups for a short time. Give praise when they go into a diaper and give reassurance that it won’t hurt. Avoid any pressure or punishment and never force your child to sit on the potty against his will. This will only cause a power struggle. Treats, hugs, and rewards for not holding it in always work better!

If your child is toilet trained, try setting up a normal routine to sit on the toilet for 10 minutes after meals, especially after breakfast. Once able to go, they don’t need to sit again that day. Sitting in warm water can also help your child relax. There are also dietary changes that can help ease constipation:

  • Age over 1 month old only on breast milk or formula- Add fruit juice. Give 1 ounce (30 ml) per month of age per day. Pear or apple juice is okay at any age.
  • Age over 4 months old- Add baby foods with high fiber twice a day. Examples are peas, beans, apricots, prunes, peaches, pears, or plums.
  • Age over 8 months old on finger foods- Add cereals and small pieces of fresh fruit.

Diet for Children Over 1 Year Old

  1. Increase fruit juice apple, pear, cherry, grape, prune. Note: Citrus fruit juices are not helpful.
  2. Add fruits and vegetables high in fiber content. Examples are peas, beans, broccoli, bananas, apricots, peaches, pears, figs, prunes, or dates. Offer these foods 3 or more times per day.
  3. Increase whole grain foods. Examples are bran flakes or muffins, graham crackers, and oatmeal. Brown rice and whole wheat bread are also helpful. Popcorn can be used if over 4 years old.
  4. Limit milk products. This includes limiting milk, ice cream, cheese, yogurt to 3 servings per day.
  5. Try a stool softener. If a change in diet doesn’t help, you can add a stool softener such as Miralax to children over 1. Give 1-3 teaspoons (5-15 ml) each day with dinner. 
  6. Fiber products such as Benefiber are also helpful. Give 1 teaspoon (5 ml) twice a day. Stool softeners and fiber work 8-12 hours after they are given and are safe to continue as long as needed.

At the Pediatric Center, we want to give you and your child the best information and treatment you can get. If your child’s constipation lasts more than 1 week after making changes to diet or you are concerned about your child’s health for any reason, please don’t hesitate to call your doctor at the Pediatric Center. You can contact us at our Idaho Falls location at (208) 523-3060 or our Rigby location (208) 745-8927, to set up your appointment. We have a wonderful team of physicians available for all of your children’s needs!