10 Tips: Dealing With Kids' Spring Allergies
Ahhh. warmer weather, sunshine and endless hours of outdoor play. That means two things:
- Spring is in the air! 🌻🌸🌷
- So are allergies.
As many as 50 million people in the United States are affected by allergies and at least 35.9 million Americans have seasonal allergies, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Kids are magnets for colds, but if the coughs and sniffles won't go away for weeks, it could be that seasonal allergies are actually the culprit.
What Causes Seasonal Allergies?
Seasonal allergies are usually caused by pollen that comes from plants, weeds, grasses and trees. When you suffer from pollen allergies (like moi), you may notice a shit-storm of sneezing when you enter your yellow-dusted car in April and May. In late spring and summer, it's the grasses that are at their worst, so those with allergies to various types of grasses may begin to feel the effects in May, June and July.
How do you know when your little one is suffering from allergies?
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, up to 40% of children suffer from allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as Hay Fever. (Hay Fever can actually present in two different forms: seasonal and perennial. Here, we're talking about seasonal rhinitis, the allergic reaction that occurs in the spring, summer and early fall). In most parts of the United States, plant pollens are the leading cause of seasonal allergic rhinitis.
- Long-lasting sneezing
- Runny nose with a clear, thin substance
- Itchy nose, ears, eyes, throat and skin
- No signs of fever
Dealing With Seasonal Allergies
Dr. Todd Mahr, Director of Pediatric Allergy/Asthma/Immunology at Gunderson Lutheran Hospital in La Crosse, Wisconsin, spoke with Parents Magazine about issues associated with untreated children's allergies. They include:
- Fatigue, especially during the daytime.
- Poor concentration in school.
- Issues with teeth due to chronic mouth breathing
- More ear infections and sinus infections.
- Uncontrolled allergies can make the asthma worse. There's been some evidence that it can lead to nasal polyps in the nose.
Fun fact from Dr. Gunderson: 40% of kids have nasal congestion and roughly 2 million school days are lost per year due to it. Whoa.
So how can you mitigate the effects of those nasty spring allergies? Here are ten tips to make your little one more comfortable this spring and summer:
10 Tips For Kids With Seasonal Allergies
1. Keep kids inside when pollen count is high
In the spring and summer, during the grass pollen season, pollen levels are highest in the evening. In the late summer and early fall, during ragweed pollen season, pollen levels are highest in the morning.
2. Take note of potential allergy triggers that may cause flare ups
3. Keep windows and doors closed during high pollen periods
4. Use air conditioning in your home and car
5. Have children wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to keep pollen out of their eyes
6. Use “mite-proof” bedding covers to limit exposure to dust mites
7. Use a dehumidifier to control mold (If you smell mildew, you likely have mold). Fun.
8. Make sure kids wash their hands after petting any animal
9. Dry clothes in the dryer, not on a clothesline
(Does anyone still do this?? Both my mom and mother-in-law were notorious for this, but the thought of drying things outside hasn't hit me since I've learned to do my own laundry)
10. Wash pets regularly