8 Tips for preventing allergies this spring
Check out these tips and tricks from Children’s Health℠ for avoiding allergies this season.
Hay fever is far and away the most common allergy in the United States. Depending on the type of pollen your child is allergic to, he or she may only have symptoms at certain times of year. For instance, a child with a birch pollen allergy will have increased symptoms in the spring when birch trees are in bloom. Kids with grass allergies will be hit hardest during the summer, while those with ragweed allergies will suffer most in the fall.
- Congestion or sinus pressure
- Runny nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Scratchy or sore throat
- Swollen, bluish-colored skin beneath the eyes
- Reduced sense of taste or smell
Hay fever may be just an annoyance for a child with mild symptoms. However, severe pollen allergies can affect kids' schoolwork and prevent him from playing outdoors. Symptoms of hay fever usually diminish as children age. The best way to combat hay fever is to avoid the particular allergen but, at certain times of year, that may be impossible.
- Keep your child indoors on days that are both dry and windy
- Don't ask your child to do yard work or other outside chores during peak allergy seasons
- Remove and wash clothing that your child has worn outside
- Have your child shower or bathe when coming in from outside
- If pollen counts are high, encourage your child to wear a dust mask
- Keep doors and windows closed when pollen counts are high (check your local weather) and use air conditioning to keep your car and home cool
- Buy a portable high-efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA) or dehumidifier or both
- Vacuum your home often (using a machine with a HEPA filter)
Because hay fever is so common, there are plenty of medications available to treat its symptoms. If high pollen counts are in the forecast, start giving your child allergy medications before symptoms begin. Medications to treat hay fever symptoms include:
- Antihistamines, such as Benadryl or Claritin
- Decongestants including Afrin and Sudafed
- Combination antihistamine and decongestant medications like Actifed or Claritin-D
Nasal irrigation with a squeeze bottle or neti pot can help flush pollens from your child's nose as well.