Pollen season is among us, leaving many parents scratching their heads and struggling with frustration (once again) over how to provide relief for their children’s seasonal sinus allergies. Thanks to sustainability efforts, society is taking a more natural approach to healthcare and remedies.
But what does that mean for your kids’ itchy eyes and runny nose?
Some natural remedies can treat children’s allergies, but it’s important to know which ones are effective and why. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation that’s easily accessible nowadays. Understanding what the science community says about natural remedies and why they do or don’t work will make it easier to decide which remedies could be right for your child.
NOTE: Worried about which allergy meds you can take yourself when breastfeeding? Check out the options here.
With that in mind, let’s focus on a few of the most popular natural remedies and which ones are actually effective.
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Using Local Honey for Children’s Allergies
It can often seem like honey is a “cure-all” for a variety of ailments, but it’s true that the sweet stuff has many health benefits. It can help with things like:
- Cardiovascular disease
- GI issues
- Neurological disease
- Wound care
However, can it really help to treat your child’s allergies? It’s hard to tell. There have been conflicting studies on honey as a natural allergy remedy. Some show that honey relieved allergy symptoms, while others don’t show a difference. While giving your child a spoonful of honey usually won’t do any harm, there are a couple of things to be aware of before you use it as a treatment for sinus allergies.
WARNING: NEVER give honey to a child under one year old. Honey can be dangerous for children under the age of one. Raw, unprocessed honey can cause botulism in young children. Local honey, especially, can have large quantities of pollen.
If your child is allergic to pollen or has an undiagnosed food allergy, honey could do more harm than good. Food allergies often get confused with seasonal allergies, so putting your child on an elimination diet might help to narrow down potential causes. Honey could be a top contender on that list.
Probiotics for Children’s Allergies
Probiotics have seen a rise in popularity over the last few years, and rightfully so. They can boost the immune system, improve gut health, and reduce inflammation.
Some people also swear by probiotics as a natural way to reduce sinus allergy symptoms.
While probiotics don’t directly “prevent” sinus allergies, it’s the way they strengthen your immune system that makes them effective. It’s still unclear exactly how probiotics influence the immune system, but if your child is struggling with symptoms and it’s causing them to feel weak or sick, a regular probiotic supplement can help. If your child doesn’t want to take a supplement, consider including more probiotic foods in their diet, such as:
If you have an infant, making your own baby food allows you to control every ingredient. While your baby might not be keen on the idea of sauerkraut, introducing probiotic-rich yogurt into their diet can boost their immune system and fight back against allergies from an early age.
Using Essential Oils for Children’s Allergies
Essential oils have their place, but not all of them are created equally. It’s easy to assume that all essential oils are natural and safe, but that isn’t always the case. Some of the most common essential oils used for sinus allergies include:
- Tea tree
While essential oils can be safe and effective for kids with sinus allergies, it’s crucial to make sure you’re using them the right way. They are incredibly potent, and incorrect use or application can be harmful to your little one.
WARNING: Never use undiluted oils directly on their skin. Don’t use eucalyptus on children under 2 years old. Don’t use peppermint oil on children less than 3 years old. Always buy your oils from a reputable source.
If you’re unsure about certain essential oils or how to use them, the best thing you can do is talk to your child’s pediatrician (not a marketer who is trying to sell you oils and has little training on their safety).
Natural nasal congestion relief for children
One of the best things to help with sinus congestion is a flavorful soup. The steam helps open up sinus passages, and ingredients like turmeric, garlic, ginger, and onion are good for the immune system.
My children love this recipe so much, they even ask for it when they’re not sick at all!
RELATED: Cold busting ginger-turmeric inspired chicken soup recipe
And if your kids aren’t up for the spices in this soup, they may prefer to just drink chicken stock or bone broth. It’s especially soothing for a scratchy throat.
RELATED: How to make chicken stock and vegetable stock
When to Go to the Doctor for Children’s Allergies
Speaking of seeing the pediatrician, it might not be your first plan of action. However, it’s often necessary if natural remedies aren’t working or if you’re curious about over-the-counter medications.
If you haven’t taken your child to the pediatrician for a while, you can prepare yourself for a positive visit by having a full familial medical history available, and details about the symptoms your child is experiencing.
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Your child’s pediatrician should be willing to work with you on the best plan of action to treat those sinus symptoms and help your child find relief.
Conclusions on Natural Allergy Remedies for Kids
Natural remedies can be effective, but there’s so much more we need to know about many of them. While most of them won’t harm your child, make sure to educate yourself on the dos and don’ts of each one, and contact a doctor if you’re unsure about something. As a parent, it’s always hard to see your little one suffering from seasonal sinus allergies, but the last thing you want is to do more harm than good with a natural remedy that doesn’t live up to the hype.