The weather has broken and the flowers are blooming – and so are your child’s allergies. Yes, it’s that time of year again, when the accumulating pollen in the air brings runny, itchy eyes, chronic sneezing, coughing, fatigue and scratchy throats.
While “perennial” allergies occur year round and come from dust mites, animal dander, feathers and molds, “seasonal” allergies – also called allergic rhinitis or hay fever – occur mainly with pollen, which comes from plants, weeds, grasses and trees. In people allergic to pollen, the body treats the substance as an invader, triggering the release of chemicals such as histamine into the bloodstream. Then the dreaded symptoms begin ― congestion, sneezing, itchy nose or runny nose.
Seasonal allergies can begin at any age, but usually develop by 10 years and reach a peak in the early 20s.
Some of the consequences of seasonal allergies in children are:
While there is no cure for seasonal allergies, it is possible to relieve symptoms with medication. Both prescription and over-the-counter medications can help relieve the symptoms of seasonal allergies. It is best to consult a pediatrician for a recommendation on treatment.
Here are some steps you can take to keep your child comfortable during allergy season:
Reviewed by: Patrick S. Pasquariello Jr., MD
Date: March 2013