Before You Reach For That Box, Read This

It’s that time of year for seasonal allergies, and children seem to suffer more than adults as their immune systems have not built a tolerance to irritants.

Your children may be whiny and irritable and have trouble concentrating or sleeping.

And the first response for many parents might be to reach for that over-the-counter allergy medicine.

After all, the box says it is safe for children, so it must be fine, right?

Wrong! In fact, often the effects of allergy medication on children can be far more severe than the irritating symptoms of the allergy itself.

Just because an allergy medication is labeled as “safe” by the Food and Drug Administration, that is not really the case.

And just remember who the FDA is:  a big government agency who receives major financial incentives from big Pharma companies for testing and approving the new “latest and greatest” drug.

The FDA’s own website contains this frightening information on the lack of reliable testing of drugs on children:

Most drugs prescribed for children have not been tested in children. Before the Food and Drug Administration initiated a pediatric program, only about 20 percent of drugs approved by the FDA were labeled for pediatric use. By necessity, doctors have routinely given drugs to children “off label,” which means the drug has not been approved for use in children based on the demonstration of safety and efficacy in adequate, well-controlled clinical trials.

Experts say the historical lack of pediatric drug testing is due to a combination of reasons. The primary reason is that pharmaceutical companies generally have viewed children as a market that would bring only small financial benefits. The drugs that have been adequately studied in children–vaccines, some antibiotics, and some cough and cold medicines–have a large market.

“Experience has shown us that we need to study drugs in children because they aren’t small adults,” says Ralph Kauffman, M.D., director of medical research at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo. “It’s not just about smaller weight,” he says. “There are dynamics of growth and maturation of organs, changes in metabolism throughout infancy and childhood, changes in body proportion, and other developmental changes that affect how drugs are metabolized.”

A quick glance on the back of any box of allergy medication, including those labeled as “safe” for children, will provide you with an alarming list of possible side effects.

And a little online research will scare you away from these medications for good with horror stories of seizures and other terrible reactions.

Parents and teachers have found that children have trouble concentrating on tasks, are increasingly hyperactive — or alternatively cannot stay awake and focused — when given over-the-counter medications.

So what can you as a parent do to alleviate your child’s suffering from allergies, without possibly worse side effects from medications?

There are several organic and homeopathic groups online which report on many parent-tested-and-approved alternatives:  apple cider vinegar, saline drops, and probiotics, which can be found in your child’s favorite yogurt. All are helpful to alleviate symptoms naturally.

There are also many common-sense tactics parents can use to combat allergy symptoms, in a totally natural and safe way.

Sometimes the most basic practices are the best for combating allergies in your children.

After playing outside, a good bath and washing play clothes right away will rid your home of the pollen and spores that cause allergy symptoms.

And keeping carpets, floors, and bedding clean will reduce the allergens in the home.  Cleaning hard surfaces with vinegar or lemon juice are good and natural ways to keep pollen and spores at a minimum in the home.

So before you reach for that supposedly “easy fix” of allergy medication, using simple natural remedies and common-sense approaches can decrease any of the symptoms your family is experiencing — without the harmful side effects of medications.