Are allergy and sinus medications safe for my child?

Dr. Paul M. Ehrlich, MD
Allergist & Immunologist

Some are and some aren't. In our book, we give a rundown of allergic rhinitis medications and they vary a good deal in the ages at which they are safe. For example, fexofenadine, the generic name for Allegra, which is now available over the counter, is recommended for 6 years and up. Cetirizine, Zyrtec, is ok for 1 year and up. These are both antihistamines. Some intranasal steroids, which control inflammation, are safe for very young children and some aren't. Read the labels and follow your doctor's advice. One thing that is always safe and, if applied liberally, very effective at keeping the sinuses clear is a simple saline solution, with high concentrations of salt, 2%–3%, because the salt draws moisture into the mucous membranes from surrounding tissues by osmosis, thus hastening the restoration of the membranes’ natural irrigating function. You can find recipes in our book and on the web, or in your drugstore marketed as SaltAire, Ocean, or another name. Ask your pharmacist.

Certain allergy and sinus medications have been approved for the use in children. Depending on the symptoms, your child may require medications to treat his/her symptoms. Prior to starting any medications for your child, consult a physician.

Dr. Alan M. Young, MD
Family Practitioner

Most allergy and sinus medications are safe for children over the age of two. If children are under the age of five, it’s a good idea to check with their healthcare provider before giving them allergy and sinus medication. If they're under two, doctors are a little bit more reserved, but there are antihistamines approved by the FDA for children over the age of six months, for severe symptoms.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.