Mar 7, 2017, 8:56:45 AM CST Mar 26, 2024, 4:12:00 PM CDT

Allergies in kids: 7 seasonal allergy myths debunked

Learn the facts about seasonal allergies in children.

Child blowing his nose around flowers. Child blowing his nose around flowers.

If your child has seasonal allergies, you may know many of the basic facts. You know that allergy symptoms in kids are triggered by allergens like pollen, dander or mold spores. You're aware that these symptoms can make outdoor sports and other activities difficult for your child during certain months. But there are several allergy myths that circulate too. Get the facts from Children's Health℠.

Allergy myth #1: All children have seasonal allergies

Allergy fact: Around 1 in 5 of children have seasonal allergies according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some children are sensitive to pollens from trees, grasses or weeds in spring, summer or early fall. Others – especially those sensitive to dust mites, animal dander or mold – experience symptoms year-round.

Allergy myth #2: Seasonal allergies develop at a specific age

Allergy fact: Seasonal allergies in children can develop at almost any time. It is unusual for a child under age 1 to be diagnosed with seasonal allergies. They usually affect children by the time they are 10 years old. Some allergies may disappear as a child grows. Others may appear up through adulthood as they encounter new potential allergens.

Allergy myth #3: Moving to a different place will cure my child's allergies

Allergy fact: Grass and ragweed pollen can be found almost anywhere and certain pollens are cross-reactive. Meaning, even if you move your child away from a grass they are allergic to, they can develop allergies to a new regional grass instead.

Allergy myth #4: Flowers cause more allergies than grass and tree pollen

Allergy fact: Flower pollen does not usually contribute to allergy symptoms in kids. Pollens from trees, grasses and weeds are much lighter and can float through the air for a long time. These are the usual culprits for seasonal symptoms.

Allergy myth #5: Allergy symptoms in kids are the same throughout allergy season

Allergy fact: Pollen counts tend to be lower right after heavy rains, which means allergy symptoms can be milder after rainy days. Levels can also be affected by temperature, humidity and time of day. Hot, dry and windy days are when pollen counts tend to be the highest. This means allergy symptoms in kids may be different depending on the weather.

Allergy myth #6: Allergy medication is only needed when a child is having symptoms

Allergy fact: Allergy medicine should be taken according to your doctor's instructions. For some children, this means taking allergy medicine throughout the whole season and not only when they are experiencing symptoms. Once you have identified your child's allergy triggers and the corresponding season(s), your doctor may prescribe a medicine to minimize symptoms. Allergens can cause an inflammatory response in your child that could last for weeks. So it's best for your child to take medicine through the whole indicated season.

Allergy myth #7: Allergy shots don't work

Allergy fact: Allergy shots are effective. Though scientists haven't yet found a cure for allergies, allergy shots can reduce reactions in children with severe allergies. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also approved tablets that dissolve under the tongue as an alternative to allergy shots for ragweed or grass pollen. Talk to your child's doctor for more information.

Learn more

The allergy specialists at Children's Health can help diagnose and treat seasonal allergies. Learn more about our allergy program and services.

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