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Pediatric nurse practitioner shares allergy relief tips

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Mindy Dettenwanger said if a sneeze-y nose and runny eyes are bringing you or your family down this spring, it's key to start taking over-the-counter allergy medicines as early as possible. (FILE)

Spring is an especially difficult time for the more than 50 million Americans who suffer from allergies.

In this week's Family First, KRCG 13 spoke with Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Mindy Dettenwanger. She said if a sneeze-y nose and runny eyes are bringing you or your family down this spring, it's key to start taking over-the-counter allergy medicines as early as possible.

"I tell parents to typically start their allergy regimen around Valentine's Day, two to three weeks before that season is gonna hit," she said. "You can give you children over the counter medicines like Zyrtec and Claritin. Parents can also add some Benadryl if their kid is super miserable."

Dettenwanger said it's important to take any over the counter allergy medicine religiously. "I've certainly heard people say 'Yeah, I took it, and then I skipped three days and took it again...'" she said. "You really have to be good about taking it every day throughout the season and then wean yourself off it in the off season."

She said non-medical solutions can also help. "I know the weather is going to be getting nice, but keep your windows rolled up and your windows closed in your house. If your kids play outside, have them shower before they jump in their bed or do anything else," she said. "You can also use a saline nasal rinse to help clear out your sinuses."

If avoiding allergy triggers and consistently taking over the counter medicine still doesn't help your allergies, Dettenwenger said a visit to the doctor's office might be necessary. "We'd want you to come in so we could take a peek at your child and make sure it's truly allergies and they're not fighting something else. And if it's super bad, we'd go ahead and refer your child to an allergist."

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