Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Allergies? Cold? How Can You Tell?

I spent the entire day wiping noses today.

Saturday evening we spent about four consecutive hours outside. It was a perfect spring day. When the girls woke up from their naps we started playing on the playground. We took a wagon ride down to see our neighbors' horses, and visited the farm behind us to say hello to the goats and chickens.

We grilled steak and veggies and ate dinner outside. Afterward Adam and I took turns cleaning up and playing catch with Madison and teaching Reagan to throw and kick.  We picked tiny little purple flowers and blew dandelion fluff all over the yard (sending many new fairies to Pixie Hollow).

Once the girls started melting down over silly things, we took them inside, gave them a bath, and put them to bed.

By midday Sunday, both girls were congested, red eyed and drippy. And I was fighting the itchy eyes/nose/throat.

I think we're all in the midst of the allergy fog.

At least I think we're dealing with allergies.

That's the problem right now. I know that the itchiness is a good sign for me that I'm dealing with allergies, and not a cold.

But with the girls, it's tough to tell, because they aren't telling me anything.

Neither of them is acting sick. No fever, no change in appetite, no behavior change. They're rubbing their eyes, they're scratching their noses, they're producing an unbelievable amount of snot, but beyond that, they seem fine.

Change of season cold?  Or allergies?

It's spring, everything is blooming, and all three of us started the day after a long outside day.

Allergies, right?

For me, this is fairly easy. Itchy throat = allergies. And since I'm not pregnant, I'm not nursing, and I can buy medication, I can treat myself. I took a very official Facebook poll this morning before hitting the drugstore, and I popped some Zyrtec with my lunch (all my old allergy meds had expired in the three years where I've either been pregnant or nursing).

So although I hate allergies, I should be ok in a few days, and I can take some meds to clear up the worst of the symptoms in the meantime.

But what to do for the girls? They're not sick, so I don't want to drag them to the doctor and pay double the co-pay to hear that, yeah, they have runny noses. Most doctors won't diagnose allergies this early anyway. I know that people can and do give their kids the children's formulas of OTC stuff, but I don't know what dosages to give them. I did get the OK a few months ago (when we actually were dealing with colds) to give them Benadryl, but so far, not effective.  And because Reagan is so young, the chances of her being able to take anything are pretty slim.

I have to admit, I'm not wishing their baby days away, but I can't wait until OTC stuff is fine for them, when they can articulate what is going on, and when I can actually help make them feel better without a lot of guesswork, trial and error, and frustration.

As for right now, I guess I'll send Madison to school with tissues tomorrow while Reagan and I go in search of some local honey...and see if the nurse line at their pediatrician takes pity on me and suggests a foolproof way to tell, treat, and keep us playing outside without the tissues!
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