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As the spring season sets in, many children catch symptoms and signs like itchy eyes, running nose, coughing, congestion, and sneezing.

A nationwide survey conducted by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital revealed that seasonal allergies affected more than half of the children.

Eighty five percent of the parents gave children allergy medicine which was left over from the previous season, with 18 percent not confirming the expiration date. It was also found that 15% of them gave allergy medicines meant for adults.

Giving expired medicines may not be dangerous, but they might be ineffective. And since adult medicines contain higher doses of ingredients, these can cause more severe side effects.

"If taken as directed, over-the-counter allergy medicines are safe and effective for children, but parents should be very careful to give their child the correct dose” says pediatrician Gary Freed.

He also suggests that parents should read the ingredients on the cartoon to match it with their child’s symptoms.  For instance, decongestants can relieve a stuffy nose while antihistamines can be effective for itchy eyes and runny nose. And if they are unsure about the medication choices, they should check with a medical practitioner.