Child with DandelionFor many kids and adults, it’s time for seasonal allergies. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), seasonal allergies may affect up to 40 percent of children and 30 percent of adults.  

Also known as allergic rhinitis or hay fever, seasonal allergy symptoms usually start when airborne pollen from trees, grass, flowers and weeds enters the eyes, nose and throat and sets off an allergic reaction.

Seasonal allergy symptoms include a stuffy or runny nose, congestion, sneezing, itchy eyes and nose, sore throat, chronic cough, and dark circles under the eyes.

It’s important to keep in mind that allergic rhinitis is more than just a mild annoyance. Some of the consequences of seasonal allergies in children include:

  • Fatigue and poor concentration in school due to lack of sleep
  • An increase in ear and sinus infections
  • Absence from school due to illness
  • Exacerbated asthma due to uncontrolled allergies
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Behavioral issues

Taking aim at allergy triggers

There are a number of prescription and over-the-counter medications that can help relieve the symptoms of seasonal allergies. Be sure to talk to your family’s pediatrician about the best option for your child.

Aside from medication, there are other steps you can take to make your child more comfortable during allergy season:

  • Keep windows and doors closed to avoid exposure to pollen.
  • Check the forecast for pollen levels, and limit outdoor activities when pollen counts are highest.
  • Pollen counts are highest in the early morning and late afternoon, so you can plan your day accordingly.
  • Dry clothes in the dryer, not by hanging them outside so they don’t get covered in pollen dust.
  • Have your child take his bath at bedtime, which may help to wash off allergens and prevent nighttime allergy problems.
  • Keep windows in your home and car closed, which can lower your child’s exposure to pollen. Use air conditioning to keep your home and vehicle cool instead, but make sure it’s on recirculating mode, to keep outdoor air out.  

Contributed by: Patrick S. Pasquariello, MD