How to Handle your Kids Allergies During Spring Season

 

The spring months have been around but it seems spring decided to take its time this year. Whatever the case, warm weather is finally here and with it comes amazing spring fashion for your kids such as colorful Kid’s Booties, sundresses, days in the park, and unfortunately springtime allergies. Allergies are common in the spring because of the excess of pollen in the air that most people react to by sneezing, running nose and running eyes amongst other things.

A simple explanation for the cause of allergic reaction to pollens is: During allergy season, your kids’ immune system works overtime to protect them from diseases. It produces antibodies that attack foreign invaders like germs and pathogens so your child won’t get sick. Sometimes, though, the immune system makes antibodies for substances that aren’t harmful, such as pollen, or certain foods. When that happens, it’s known as an allergic reaction.  

In general, almost every kid is allergic to something and depending on the season of the year a child is born it might affect what they are allergic to. Read more about the seasons of birth associated with allergies here.  Pollen allergies are particularly very common as they affect up to 40 percent of kids. If your kid has a pollen allergy, springtime is when you should be on the highest alert. When your child comes in contact with an allergen such as pollen, it causes a reaction that can range from mild to severe. Depending on the type of allergy, symptoms can include itchy, watery eyes, a rash or stomach cramps. In the most serious cases, a reaction can result in anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening condition in which a child’s throat closes up. Anaphylaxis is rare. Symptoms of most allergies are mild to moderate.

Pollen Allergies

A common childhood allergy is pollen allergy. Pollen allergies are also referred to as allergic rhinitis or hay fever. Hay fever is the most common allergy in the United States. Depending on the type of pollen your child is allergic to, he may only have symptoms at certain times of the year but spring is when it’s most likely to occur. For instance, a child with a birch pollen allergy will have increased symptoms in the spring when birch trees are in bloom. Kids with grass allergies will be hit hardest during the summer, while those with ragweed allergies will suffer most in the fall.

 

Symptoms of Pollen Allergy

Some common symptoms of pollen allergy include:

  • Congestion or sinus pressure
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Scratchy or sore throat
  • Cough
  • Swollen, bluish-colored skin beneath the eyes
  • Reduced sense of taste or smell

*Symptoms of pollen allergies and hay fever usually diminish as children age.

Prevention of Pollen Allergy

The best way to prevent pollen allergic reactions is to avoid the particular allergen but, at certain times of the year like the spring, that may be impossible. Although pollen can be difficult to avoid entirely, these tips will help you to enjoy the spring. Some ways it can be prevented include:

  • Bathe or shower your kids every night: Wash all that pollen out of their hair before they spread it all over their room, pillowcase, and bed linens.  This way there’s no residual pollen in the house that can trigger allergic reactions

 

  • Give your dog a bath:  Dogs and cats track that pollen all over your house.  Although pet dander can be a major allergy trigger, there is good research that exposure to indoor-outdoor pets during early childhood can actually prevent allergies later in life.

  • Get the laundry done: Make sure your kids wear fresh, clean clothes daily.  Even if something looks clean or was only worn for a few hours, it’s probably full of pollen and dust mites.  Wash bed linens and pillowcases every week.

 

  • Spring clean the mattress: There may be residual dust mites and pollen in your mattress and it might increase allergic symptoms at night.  Since you can’t put your mattress in a dryer, get an anti-allergy mattress cover to keep the dust mites and the pollen out.

 

  • Close the windows: Though you might be tempted to leave the windows open and enjoy the cool spring breeze, open windows mean pollens are floating into your house and spreading all over the place.

  • Change air filters: A new filter for your air conditioner or furnace only costs a few dollars.  Buy a big pack and try to change them regularly. You’ll increase the energy efficiency of your HVAC system, too.  The more you change your filters, the less often you have to clean your ventilation ducts, too.

 

  • Keep your kid’s nose clean: The nose is the air filter for your lungs and your kid’s nose need to be cleaned regularly to prevent buildups.  Clean it out and get rid of all the pollen it traps. The easiest way is to buy a spray bottle of nasal saline at any drug store, then do a good job blowing your nose. A neti-pot is another option for nose cleaning, especially for older children and adults.  A neti pot is an affordable device that allows you to irrigate their nose and sinuses in your own bathroom.

  • Stop sweeping: When you sweep a floor, you stir up allergens.  It can take several hours for them to settle again. Instead, invest in a vacuum cleaner with a good filter as mentioned above,  and vacuum your floors.

 

  • Stay indoors as much as possible during peak pollen days (sunny and windy days). The best times to be outdoors are in the early morning and on cloudy, windless and rainy days which doesn’t sound fun but just keep in mind. If you must go out with your kids in the day (which is inescapable) monitor pollen counts so that you know when to limit your exposure outdoors.( Pollen COUNTS are different from pollen FORECASTS, which are based on current weather conditions and the previous year’s pollen counts. Pollen counts are performed by counting stations located throughout the United States and are required to meet stringent certification standards. The National Allergy Bureau (NAB) provides the most accurate and reliable pollen and mold levels.)

  • Give your kids preventive medication at the start of, or even before, the pollen season and have them take them regularly throughout the season, especially if their allergies tend to be severe.