A frequent question many parents are likely asking around this time of the year is, “Is it allergies, a cold or could it be the coronavirus?”
Anytime your child is sneezing or has a runny nose, allergies are a common thought you probably have. Although it’s not an easy task to decipher the difference between a cold and allergies, know that allergies are prevalent, and it’s pretty likely that your child has an allergy to something. Usually, a diagnosis by a medical professional is necessary for that.
Allergy symptoms tend to be chronic, so if you’ve noticed that your child has had the same symptoms the past few years around the spring season, then it’s likely its allergies. There’s more to know than the fact that your child may have allergies.
Here’s what moms should know about children’s seasonal allergies so you can better care for your kids.
What Is a Seasonal Allergy?
Seasonal allergies occur when your immune system reacts more than an average amount to an outdoor allergen. During the spring, this is typically pollen. Bees and other insects move pollen from various plants, and the wind can disturb pollen as well, sending it off into the air and your nostrils. Wind-pollinated plants, like trees and grasses, are the most common allergens.
Historically, seasonal allergies were known as hay fever. In the summer, when farmers would cut and harvest hay, it would trigger allergy symptoms. However, seasonal allergies can be year-round, depending on the type of plants your kids are around and are allergic to.
Pollen is naturally harmless, but if your child suffers from a seasonal allergy and has all of the symptoms that come with it, it can be debilitating and extremely annoying for your children. Pollen season can last months, anywhere from March into September.
Know the Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies
Knowing the symptoms of seasonal allergies can help you better determine if your child is suffering from them. A doctor will have to confirm a seasonal allergy diagnosis, but generally, seasonal allergies last much longer than the week-long or two-week cold. Your child’s doctor will perform a skin test or blood test to help confirm which pollens your child is allergic to. In the meantime, take a look at the common symptoms of seasonal allergies.
- Congested Nose
- Itchy Nose
- Sore Throat
- Runny Nose
- Itchy Eyes
If any of these symptoms are lingering or worsen when your children go outside, then it’s time to see a doctor and find a medication that helps ease those symptoms. Children can begin getting signs of seasonal allergies as early as one or two years old. However, the symptoms become more noticeable when children reach the age of four.
Understand That Some Allergies Are Hereditary
Children typically inherit allergies from their parents. That means, if you or your partner have seasonal allergies, then it’s highly likely that your kids could have allergies. However, the specific allergy isn’t always the same. You might be allergic to tree pollen, and your child could be allergic to grass pollen.
Kids inherit the ability to become allergic, not allergen sensitivity. It’s important to note that people who have seasonal allergies are at higher risk of getting asthma. Again, if you have had asthma, then your children could be at risk as well.
Ease the Symptoms
You can help your child ease their symptoms when an allergy attack does occur. Here are a few tips:
- Plan outdoor activities for the late afternoon or evening when pollen counts are down.
- Close the windows in your house and use fans or an air conditioner to keep the air flowing.
- Have your child rinse off in the shower after outdoor activity to get rid of any pollen that got in their hair or on their clothes.
- Stay indoors when pollen counts are exceptionally high.
- Keep the grass cut short and keep your kids inside during gardening chores.
You might need to get medications for your child as well. Antihistamines can relieve the most common allergy symptoms, like sneezing, itchy eyes and a runny nose. Additionally, giving your child the medication before pollen season strikes helps the medicine work even better. Get to know your child’s triggers so you can help them through the situation.
Know How to Handle Reactions
Different people experience different reactions when they have allergies. With your kids, you should know how to handle allergic reactions. While anaphylaxis shock would be rare with pollen or other seasonal allergies, different reactions, like hives, difficulty breathing, swelling and coughing, can still occur.
An antihistamine should be able to handle a seasonal allergy. If you’re are concerned about an allergic reaction, never hesitate to call your doctor. If it is an extreme reaction, then take your child to the emergency room. A doctor can better evaluate your child and give them the proper care to ensure they’re safe and healthy.
Don’t Let Allergies Get You Down This Season
Controlled allergies are the best allergies. When you can properly help your children manage their seasonal allergies, they can have a more freeing and comfortable life. If you aren’t sure if your child has seasonal allergies, set up an appointment with your family doctor so you can get the proper treatment for your kids.