Q: My six-month-old’s nose is constantly runny. The discharge is usually clear. What could be causing it? I am concerned because allergies run in our family.
A: It is possible that these are recurrent colds, but what you are describing sounds like allergic rhinitis or inflammation of the nasal passages brought on by something irritating in the air. This condition is very, very rare before age six. However, there is no never in medicine. The best treatment is to identify the triggers and try to decrease exposure to them. Many plants and trees shed pollen grains that cause irritation, but these are usually seasonal. This sounds like something in the home, such as fungi or mould. Clean humidifiers regularly and use filters to rid the environment of any pet allergens. Dust mites, a common allergen, can live in carpets and bedding. Washing bed linens in hot water, vacuuming frequently and reducing humidity are some ways to decrease allergens in the environment.