What to do if Your Child Suffers From Seasonal Allergies
Spring is in the air and with it comes blooming flowers, warmer weather, an uptick in outdoor activities, and, yes, allergy season. While you may not be a seasonal allergy sufferer yourself, your children might not be so lucky. To help you and your child enjoy your time outdoors this spring season, the team of experts at Glen Allen Pediatrics in Glen Allen, Virginia is here with our best advice for parents of allergy sufferers.
What Are Seasonal Allergies?
Seasonal allergies affect millions of people each year. Also known as “hay fever” or seasonal allergic rhinitis, seasonal allergies are caused by the changing of seasons and the resulting release of allergens into the air. For many seasonal allergy sufferers, spring is the most difficult time of year to get through. That’s because in the springtime a high number of allergens are released in the form of mold spores and pollen from trees, grass, and other plants.
While the uptake in warm weather is certain to have you and your child itching to spend more time outdoors, keep in mind that seasonal allergies can affect your child in just the same way they affect adults.
Look Out For The Symptoms
As always, be mindful of your child’s behavior and any symptoms they may be showing. Often times children do not report sneezing, coughing or other symptoms to their parents, so keep a close eye on your child’s behavior as we move deeper into allergy season.
If your child begins to suffer from seasonal allergies, they’ll develop symptoms that are similar to those seen when your child has a cold or the flu. Symptoms of seasonal allergies in children include:
- Runny nose
- Itchy, runny eyes
- Throat clearing
- Nose rubbing
- Nasal stuffiness
It’s important to keep an eye out for these symptoms and to respond promptly if you see them. Sometimes, failure to address allergy symptoms early on can lead to wheezing or even the development of allergic asthma.
If your child is not feeling well, you’ll also likely be able to tell based on their mood and behavior. Because younger children may struggle to tell their parents about their symptoms, make sure you are on the lookout for any abnormal cranky or sleepy behavior that may signal that your child is not feeling their best.
Treating Your Child’s Symptoms
Before discussing just how to treat their allergy symptoms, remember to always consult a pediatrician before administering any medicine to your child. A trained pediatrician can examine the severity of a child’s symptoms and suggest treatment options. In more severe cases, your child’s pediatrician may refer you to an allergist to help pinpoint exactly what substances your child is allergic to and develop a treatment plan based on avoiding specific allergens.
Whether you’re a seasonal allergy sufferer yourself or not, you can see by observing your child that allergies are not fun. Seasonal allergy sufferers often feel as though they have a bad chest or head cold. That’s because as pollen and other allergens are released into the air and breathed into the lungs, the body reacts in the same way it would to any germ or illness. The immune system releases chemicals, including histamine, into the body to combat the foreign invaders. The release of these chemicals into the body from the immune system causes allergy symptoms.
For that reason, the majority of allergies can be treated with over-the-counter antihistamines. These can take the form of chewable tablets, pills, liquids, or nasal mists. Antihistamines will not cure your child’s allergies but will help manage their more minor symptoms. Be sure that you visit your child’s pediatrician to learn about recommended dosages and products that will work best for your child’s specific needs.
Know The Conditions
Another way you can help your child combat allergies this year is to keep an eye on your local weather forecast and pollen count. By checking the morning weather and pollen report each day, you can plan out your child’s day in a way that will help limit their exposure to allergens. Many weather services also report the pollen count in their regular weather report. If you have trouble finding your local pollen count, you can use tools like pollen.com to read about the local pollen count each day.
If your child develops symptoms this allergy season, don’t hesitate. Call the child healthcare professionals at Glen Allen Pediatrics by dialing (804) 282-4210. As a small practice, the doctors, nurses, and staff at Glen Allen Pediatrics will get to know you and your child, providing continued, quality care that is customized to your child’s needs.