Seasonal allergies are a problem for many people, and they can be especially difficult for younger children. Often infants and toddlers to elementary age children have significant seasonal allergies that may become more or less problematic as they age. The biggest causes of spring allergies include ragweed, grass, tree pollens, molds, insect bites and dust. Combinations of these potential allergens can make symptoms even worse.
Parents should watch their children for signs of:
- Occasional or persistent sneezing and wheezing
- Stuffy noses
- Itchy eyes which may or may not water
- Hives or skin rashes
- Coughing and cold-like symptoms without fever
- Irritability and fatigue
- Stomach and digestive problems
It is important for parents to schedule an appointment with their child’s pediatrician if they suspect seasonal allergies. The doctor may elect to perform an allergy skin test or a serum-specific IgE antibody test to confirm the cause of the symptoms. However, many doctors may choose to wait to see if the symptoms respond to treatment using antihistamines and limiting exposure if the symptoms are mild. The doctor may also test for other conditions such as asthma to rule out these health concerns.
As a parent it is important to educate children about the triggers for their allergies. In addition parents can help reduce exposure to allergens, particularly the airborne allergens by:
- Keeping children indoors in the mid afternoon to early evening when the most pollen is present in the air
- Monitoring the online pollen counts and keeping children indoors on days when the count is high
- Keeping windows and doors closed in the home
- Removing mold and mildew which becomes more pronounced in the higher humidity and warmer temperatures of spring.