With the onset of spring, most kids and their parents look forward to spending more time outdoors. A day at the park, a hike with the dog or a baseball game with neighborhood friends are springtime highlights, but seasonal allergies can put a damper on the fun. And when the kids are suffering, their parents suffer, too.
With more than 6 million children suffering from seasonal allergies, there’s an overwhelming amount of information on how to prevent and alleviate symptoms of seasonal allergies in children. Best of NJ has compiled a list of five tips to help you and your kiddo enjoy the season.
Know the Allergy Trigger
Because children are less adept at self-diagnosing, make sure you keep an eye on their symptoms so you know you’re fighting the correct trigger. Are you sure it’s a seasonal allergy, or could your child be allergic to pet dander or dust mites? Could the issue be a food allergy, or is it possible that it’s a run-of-the-mill cold? By tracking your child’s exposure and ensuring that the allergy triggers are seasonal, you’ll be able to combat it more effectively now and year after year.
Keep the House Trigger Free
Keeping the windows closed and running an air conditioner will help keep pollens from getting in the house. For the pesky pollens that do make it in, vacuum regularly and use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter or a dehumidifier to keep the kids’ rooms allergen free.
Spend Some Days Playing Inside
With most children spending between five and seven hours in front of a screen, it’s important to get them outside when spring finally hits. But on days when the pollen counts are high (you can check here) it may be best to limit outside time and opt for fun, creative ways to pass the time inside. If the kids do venture outdoors, be mindful of where they play and try to have them avoid areas that are overly populated with trees. Once they’re back inside, Dr. Mary Ann Michelis, chief of Allergy & Immunology at Hackensack Meridian Health, suggests having them wash up. “Have them shower and put on a change of clothes,” she says.
Try a Children’s Over-the-Counter Medication
Once you know your child has allergies, Michelis recommends starting medication before you ever hear a sniffle. “If it is known that the child is sensitive to tree pollens, he or she can start taking nasal corticosteroids and antihistamines daily in late March,” she says. “That way, these medications are preventive and not being used on an as-needed basis, just chasing symptoms.” If you missed the early start, go ahead and start your child on medication now and continue to have him or her take it through the end of the season, continuing even when the symptoms subside.
If None of the Above Work, Call your Doctor
If trigger avoidance and over-the-counter medications are not relieving your child’s allergy symptoms, call your pediatrician. He or she will know best how to treat the allergies and may refigure dosages of the medicines you’re using, suggest a different medication or recommend that you take your child in for allergy testing. The doctor will also be able to make sure there’s not a more serious issue involved, which is especially important with children.
For many kids, it’s hard to understand what’s happening when they’re not feeling well and it’s never easy as a parent to watch your child be uncomfortable. But seasonal allergies are an ailment you can relieve and, so by taking the time to prepare, you and your kids will be enjoying the season in no time.
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