Avoiding Allergies in the Spring
It’s finally spring! The weather is warming, birds are chirping and, unfortunately, seasonal allergies are raging. Sound familiar? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, allergies in the spring are very common in the United States.
Today, let’s take a look at what causes these allergies and how to prevent them from affecting our little ones. Best yet, we’ll look at how to treat these allergies if your child does experience them.
What are Seasonal Allergies?
At the onset of spring, many people, including children, begin to experience symptoms such as sneezing, congested sinuses or a cough. Many also notice sinus pressure and watery, itchy eyes. These are all signs that you may have seasonal allergies, or “hay fever.” According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, hay fever affects 6.1 million children.
Often these allergies are simply a nuisance, like a stuffy nose. but in certain cases they can become serious enough that it begins to affect your child’s life. After all, we want our kids to be able to play outside and enjoy the fresh air. However, severe allergies can prevent these precious childhood moments.
What Causes Allergies in the Spring?
First, we must understand what causes these allergies. That will help us to better understand how we can prevent and treat them. We’ll get to that next.
These symptoms that your child is experiencing are likely caused by an allergic reaction to pollen. Most commonly, tree pollen will be the culprit for allergies in the spring. You see, as trees blossom at the start of spring, they release pollen into the air, potentially triggering the symptoms discussed above.
In order to pinpoint the problem, it may help to know what types of trees are nearby. Trees that commonly cause allergies in spring are birch, walnut, hickory and elm. However, cutting down your trees isn’t necessarily a viable solution. On windy days, pollen can be carried from nearby trees in your area.
Of course, trees aren’t the only offender. Grass pollen also exists and can affect your child’s sinuses. However, grass allergies are most prevalent in the summer.
How to Prevent and Treat Your Child’s Allergies
The best way to avoid allergy symptoms is to avoid the allergen. But as we discovered above, this isn’t always possible. So, what can you do instead? Here are some tips:
- Check the pollen count. This is a number that lets you know how much pollen is in the air. These numbers are usually reported to your local weather station during allergy season. When the pollen count is particularly high, keep windows closed in the house and car.
- Stay indoors when there is likely to be a lot of pollen. This includes days when the air is dry and windy, as pollen can easily travel in these conditions. You should also avoid outdoor playtime on early spring mornings, between 5 and 10am, when pollen is particularly bad.
- Don’t bring pollen indoors with you. Pollen can cling to your child’s clothes and hair. For this reason, it is a good idea to remove and wash their clothes when they come inside. Make sure they wash up to remove any lingering allergens.
- Treat symptoms with allergy medicines. Typically, antihistamines, decongestants or a combination of both, can alleviate symptoms for allergies in spring. However, when it comes to children, it’s best to get their allergies diagnosed by a physician or allergist. A medical professional can then advise the best course of treatment.