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Both my sons have had allergies, my oldest has been able to cope and his have not been as bad as my youngest who just turned one. My oldest seems to just deal with it now, but my youngest seems to be really bad some days. He has the signs, dark circles under the eyes, runny nose, slight coughing; we think its probably dust and maybe seasonal as my wife and I both have that. We have central air in the house, which has been outfitted with a UV light on the air return and I use the allergen filters in the furnace, the vents have been cleaned recently as well and we noticed a sudden flare up of allergy with our youngest for a couple days after.

Are there are good coping strategies we can do with an infant to alleviate his symptoms? With our oldest when we asked about allergies our pediatrician at the time said it was too early to test, so we haven't checked with the youngest. My wife has mentioned floor vent filters, but I'm not sure if they would work. I would invest in a HEPA filter, but they seem expensive and if it won't do much I'd hate to waste the money. Anyone found any solutions that work with infants?

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It would probably be worth your time to take your child to an allergist to determine what in particular he is reacting to. A HEPA filter would only help if the allergen is both airborne and small enough to penetrate your regular filter.

Sources of allergic reaction can be airborne, food borne, or come in direct contact with the skin. The best way to combat allergies is to know what you are fighting instead of taking a blanket approach. If it's pollen you know to run the AC instead of keeping windows open, and get a good HEPA filter and humidifier. If it's dust mites, you know to vacuum more frequently, pay special attention to under furniture and other small spaces, and use a vacuum cleaner with a suitable filtration system. If it's pet dander, you can consider finding a new home for the pet (though if it is pet dander, and the reaction is mild and seasonal, it may be a function of the animal's shedding season, which could possibly combated without getting rid of the pet entirely).

You really don't know what to do until you know what you are fighting.

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We thought he was too young to go for the check, and after my last pediatrician we did not ask; our current one is great so I will check with her. We're pretty sure its airborne since it doesn't happen all the time, even at home. I had run the humidifier a couple times, and that helped but hadn't done the HEPA yet. –  MichaelF Apr 15 '11 at 17:11
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A cool mist humidifier was very helpful for our son as well as sleeping in a non or minimally heated bedroom. Heat dries the air which dries the mucosal membranes of the nasal and sinus cavities which is the bodies air filtration system. If the mucosa is dry then it is unable to trap the airborne pathogens before they enter the lungs. The humidifier added more moisture to the air.

As an adult I use essential oils (Rosemary or others) or Vicks salve under my nose to provide more moisture also. Of course, follow age recommendations/precautions for use of these products with children .

Also, we learned to recognize the very first signs of his seasonal reactions (crusty film around nose or in corner of eyes or "stuffiness") and gave OTC or prescribed allergy medications immediately and continued until symptoms were no longer present. Catching the problem in the very early stages resulted in fewer sicknesses requiring MD visits and a healthier, happier child. This vigilance was required until his early elementary school years when he "outgrew" most of his allergies.

We also learned the value of alternating his meds to maintain their effectiveness. We found 2 types (through trials and MD advice) that worked well and rotated from one to another thoughout the years.

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