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As a parent or caregiver for children, nothing is worse than when your little one is sick or suffering from allergies. For a younger child, a stuffy nose can mean disrupted sleep, irritability, and loss of appetite. Learn how to help your child when they have a stuffy or runny nose so they can get back to their old self.


Improving from its number eight spot last year, Richmond scored "better than average" on its allergists to patients ratio but remains "worse than average" in terms of its pollen/mold score.


Despite its coastal location Providence was rated “worse than average” on all measures (pollen/mold score, amount of patients using allergy medication, and allergist to patient ratio). 


Moving up from its number eleven spot last year, Dayton was rated "worse than average" on both its pollen/mold score and the amount of patients using allergy medication.


From number twelve last year to number seven this year, Wichita is “worse than average” in terms of its pollen/mold score but has an “average” number of allergists to patients.


Part of the Rio Grande Valley and therefore subject to seasonal "Cedar Fever."2 McAllen scored "worse than average" on all measures (pollen/mold score, amount of patients using allergy medication, and allergist to patient ratio). 


For a city rated “worse than average” on its pollen/mold score and amount of patients using allergy medication, Knoxville is “better than average” in terms of its allergists to patients ratio.


Not far from its number two spot last year, Memphis continues to be “worse than average” in terms of its pollen/mold score and the amount of people using allergy medication.


For being "worse than average" on its pollen/mold score and amount of patients using allergy medication, Oklahoma City is "better than average" in terms of its allergists to patients ratio.


From the number one spot last year to number 2 this year, Louisville has—unsurprisingly—a “worse than average” pollen/mold score. Luckily, the city is doing “better than average” in terms of its allergists to patients ratio.


With its "worse than average" pollen/mold score and amount of patients using allergy medicine, the AAFA found Jackson to be the worst city for spring allergy sufferers this year.

What Causes a Kid’s Stuffy or Runny Nose

Your child’s stuffy nose occurs when the blood vessels within nasal tissues become inflamed, causing the tissue to swell.1 A stuffy nose is commonly accompanied by nasal discharge—also known as a runny nose, a condition that parents of young children are incredibly familiar with.1 If the excess mucus brought on by a runny or stuffy nose runs down the back of your child’s throat, it’s referred to as postnasal drip and may lead to a sore throat or cough.1

A child’s stuffy nose can be brought on by a number of reasons, though the most common are a cold, the flu, or allergies.1 Parents and caregivers who recognize their child’s allergy triggers and symptoms will be able to help their child manage their symptoms and avoid missed days at school or work.2

Children may have allergic responses to just about anything, but there are some allergic triggers that parents and caregivers should watch out for. If your child develops common symptoms like sneezing, coughing, and a runny nose or itchy eyes, they may be having an allergic reaction.2

One the most common ways that kids react to the presence of allergens is via a condition known as allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever.2 This allergy-driven condition has symptoms that include nasal congestion, sneezing, post-nasal drip, and a runny, itchy nose.2 While adults are adept at dealing with congestion, kids may experience it more acutely. In fact, if left untreated, nasal congestion can affect the growth of teeth and even facial structure.2 If your child cannot effectively breathe through their nose, they may resort to mouth breathing, especially while sleeping, which can in turn lead to poor sleep.2

Another side-effect of untreated allergies in children is inflammation in the ear.2 Nasal congestion and other fluids may accumulate in the ear canal and lead to ear infections in young children.2 Without management, this can affect a child’s ability to hear and language development.2

Triggers and allergens are everywhere, and parents and caregivers should take notice if these kid allergy symptoms present themselves around:2

  • Outdoor allergens: pollen, insect bites and stings
  • Indoor allergens: mold, dust mites, animal fur
  • Irritants: perfume, car exhaust, cigarettes
  • Foods: eggs, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, soy

If you suspect that your child is having an allergic reaction, talk to your pediatrician about making an appointment to see an allergist. Track your kid’s symptoms so you can present a complete picture to the specialist.

How to Treat Your Kid’s Stuffy Nose

If your little one has a stuffy nose due to allergies, there are a few things that parents and caregivers can do to help their child feel relief.

One tried and true method for younger children who are not yet able to blow their noses is something that parents may remember from their child’s early days: a nasal aspirator, or snot sucker.3 A nasal aspirator is a bulb connected to a tube that is squeezed and placed gently in the child’s nose and released.3 The suction from this action should help pull mucus forward into the bulb and out of your child’s nose. Another similar option, the Swedish snot sucker, uses suction created by an adult’s mouth similar to a siphon. Thankfully, there is a barrier between the adult’s mouth and the child’s nose that prevents mucus from travelling into your mouth!3

Another option for children of all ages is a humidifier and saline spray. The saline can help thin the mucus and the humidity can keep the air moist and make mucus removal a less painful process.3

Caregivers and parents of kids with stuffy noses over the age of 4 have a few more options at their disposal. There are over the counter medications available that are specially formulated for children that aim to treat allergy symptoms like nasal congestion and an itchy, runny nose. Children’s Flonase Allergy Relief nasal spray is a great option for parents to help kids alleviate a stuffy nose.

Help your child kick their runny nose and get back to running, jumping, climbing, pretending and being the most amazing kid you know.

Source Citations:

  1. Stuffy or runny nose – children. Mount Sinai. Accessed 4/19/23.
  2. Who gets allergies: Children. American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. Accessed 4/19/23.
  3. How To Help Your Baby or Toddler Clear Their Stuffy Nose. Cleveland Clinic. Accessed 4/19/23.