Prepare Now for Allergy Season

Did you know trees begin spreading pollen before leaves appear on their branches? Grass and weeds will begin pollinating later in the year.

"Most people associate the beginning of allergy season with flowering trees and plants, but the reality is allergy season begins much earlier, when buds on otherwise bare trees begin releasing their pollen." said Christine Cho, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at National Jewish Health.

Dr. Cho offers advice on steps you can take now to get your child ready for the spring allergy season.

Know exactly what your child is allergic to. See an allergist and have testing done to determine which pollens or other items (molds, pets, etc.) that you are allergic to. Specifically knowing what you are allergic to can help your allergist tailor your treatment plan.

Start taking allergy medications now. Whether your child takes nasal sprays and/or oral medication, have them begin taking their allergy medications now before symptoms start. Beginning those medications now can help lessen the severity of symptoms later.

Stay consistent. Take medications as prescribed. Consistently taking medications will work much better with consistent use rather than used only as urgent relief.

Nasal washes can be very helpful. Many kids with allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma, or other lung problems also have nasal and sinus symptoms. Drainage from their nose and sinuses can make rhinitis and asthma worse, especially at night. A salt water nasal wash, or nasal irrigation, can help reduce this. View the updated nasal wash guidelines.

Monitor pollen counts. Know the pollen counts each day. On high pollen count days keep windows closed to minimize exposure to pollens. If your child has been outdoors a lot, having them bathe before going to bed can go a long way toward helping them, and you, get a good night's sleep.

Learn more about the allergy center at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children>>