Spring seasonal allergies in children | Sponsored

Spring seasonal allergies in children

Spring is here! The days are longer, the temperature is warmer and both children and parents look forward to outdoor activities. For some children, however, this time of year also brings symptoms of seasonal allergies.

What are the symptoms of seasonal allergies?

Some children may be predisposed to allergies and develop cold symptoms that persist for more than a week or develop repeated symptoms that begin around the same time of year. These symptom patterns include stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing, nose rubbing, itchy watery eyes, scratchy throat, sniffling, sniffling, and/or coughing.

What causes spring allergies?

Seasonal allergies develop when the body’s immune system overreacts to a substance in the environment. This substance is called an allergen. Pollen is the most common allergen in the spring. Pollen is produced by the pollination of trees and grasses. Tree pollination begins in late February, followed by grass pollination in late spring and summer. This is why pollen levels are highest in spring and summer.

How does the allergic reaction occur?

Children can come into contact with pollens by breathing them in or touching them. Children need to be exposed to these triggers for 1 or 2 seasons before their bodies begin to overreact. This is why younger babies and toddlers are less likely to have seasonal allergies. Usually, allergies are more common in children whose parents have seasonal allergies. Often, spring allergies are diagnosed based on symptoms and history provided by the child or parent. Often, no special test is needed.

What affects the severity of spring allergy season?

This varies across the country and depends on different climates. The severity of symptoms can be affected by several climatic factors. For example, pollen levels increase in the morning, after a rain or on windy, hot days. Additionally, tree and grass pollens thrive on cool nights and warm days.

What are the complications of spring allergies?

Allergy symptoms can have a negative effect on the quality of sleep in children. These children seem more tired in the morning. Consequently, their academic performance may be affected. Inflammation due to uncontrolled allergy symptoms can predispose children to bacterial sinus infection. Therefore, an antibiotic may be warranted. Additionally, some children with seasonal allergies may also have asthma. If allergies are not controlled, they can cause an asthma attack. Symptoms of an asthma flare-up are coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing. It’s important to start managing allergy symptoms as soon as parents notice them and contact their pediatrician.

How to avoid spring allergy triggers?

We want the children to play outside and enjoy the good weather and the sun. We recommend that parents help their children avoid triggers. Track local pollen counts available on many weather apps. Avoid playing outside when the pollen count is high, especially early in the morning. Try to keep your home pollen-free by closing windows to keep pollen out. Turn on your air conditioner and use an air filter. Have your children wash their hands after outdoor activities and take a bath before bedtime to prevent pollen buildup in their room. Close your car windows while driving.

How to use allergy medications the right way and are the drugs safe?

Allergy medications work best when used regularly during allergy season and not as needed. Children will respond best if the medication is started when they first develop their symptom and stopped when allergy season is over. Most of these drugs are available over the counter without a prescription. Common allergy medications include antihistamines, steroid nasal sprays, and antihistamine eye drops. Avoid using Benadryl and nasal decongestant to treat seasonal allergies on a daily basis. Please contact your pediatrician if you suspect your child has spring allergies or if their allergy medications are no longer working. Sometimes changing the dose of medication or switching to another medication makes a huge difference. The pediatrician may also be able to tell if something else is going on.

When to make an appointment?

If your child has any of the symptoms described above and you think they might benefit from an evaluation, the providers at the WVU Medicine Pediatric Children’s Clinic are here to help. Call 724-439-4479 to schedule an appointment today.

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