The spring season can cause allergies to flare up or worsen. Kids can also suffer from allergy symptoms. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, up to 40 percent of children in America have nasal allergies. Nasal allergy symptoms include persistent sneezing, along with a runny or stuffy nose. These symptoms are known as allergic rhinitis. In kids, allergies are more likely to develop if one or both parents have allergies.
"Eye itching, sneezing, a stuffy and runny nose, throat clearing, or coughing can be symptoms of an environmental allergy. A good way to try to minimize medications is to avoid what you are allergic to. This is when an allergy evaluation can be very helpful," said Christine Cho, MD, pediatric allergist and immunologist at National Jewish Health for Kids.
If your child suffers from allergies, here's how to prevent and treat allergy symptoms:
- Keep children inside when pollen levels are high. Nasal allergies can be caused by outdoor allergens, such as plant pollens. If your child has seasonal allergies, pay attention to pollen counts in your city, town or area. Try to keep your kid inside on days when pollen levels are high.
- Be aware of allergens in your home. Nasal allergies can also be caused by indoor allergens, like mold, dust mites and pet dander. If you have a pet, vacuum often and don't let them into your child's room. Check your house for mold and take steps to keep your home as dust-free as possible.
- Know what seasonal allergies your child has and when they strike. Allergy testing can help to identify which will be a problem. During the spring, tree pollens are present. During the summer months, grass pollen, and in the fall until the first frost, weed pollen including ragweed is present. Certain molds may also be seasonal, like outdoor mold, which is more common in the fall. It's important to know which types of seasonal allergies your child is most susceptible to so you can limit their time outdoors during these months. In addition to monitoring pollen counts, you can also keep the windows closed in your home and car and run the air conditioner.
- Be careful when giving allergy medications to children. Check the labels for warnings on any over-the-counter and prescription drugs to treat allergies you give your child. Allergy medications can be effective for relieving seasonal allergy symptoms. Allergy shots are another option to help your kid ease their seasonal allergy symptoms.
Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, in partnership with National Jewish Health for Kids, offers a comprehensive, collaborative and multidisciplinary approach that addresses the increasing demand from parents and patients for the treatment of allergic, respiratory and immune system disorders.