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Seasonal Allergies and Kids

Spring has arrived…and with it, seasonal allergies.  Allergies in children are common.  Nearly half of all children in the U.S., suffer from allergies.  Treating allergies can be challenging because there can be so many different symptoms, different allergen triggers and different reactions.  Symptoms of allergic reactions could include:  itchy/red/watery eyes, sneezing, runny and/or congested nose, congested sinuses, headaches, rashes, hives, difficulty breathing/wheezing, sore/itchy/scratchy throat, coughing, hoarse voice, itchy ear canals ear infections for congestion, difficulty sleeping, fatigue and snoring.  Below are some tips to help make the spring allergy season easier.

1.       You should start giving your child allergy medication about 2 weeks before the beginning of the allergy season.  Allergy medications are more successful in preventing allergic reactions than they are at treating reactions.  Once your body is exposed to allergens, at whole series of reactions from immune system (the symptoms) occur and it is much more difficult to get your immune system to reacting.

2.       Corticosteriod nose sprays are most effecting in controlling allergy symptoms.  They help decrease the reaction of your immune system.  Antihistamines are helpful in preventing allergic reactions as well.  They need to be taken daily for 5 days to reach their maximum strength. 

3.       Allergy testing, done by a doctor can help pinpoint what allergens affect your child and then you can be more careful to avoid those things.  Checking pollen counts, if you know what your child reacts to, can be helpful in planning which days might be better for indoor activities if the pollen count is high. 

4.       More pollen is generally released in the morning so playing outside in the afternoon or evening tends to lead to less pollen exposure. 

5.       Avoid opening windows or hanging laundry outside to dry during allergy season to limit the amount of allergens brought into the home.

6.       Have your child take a shower or bath in the evening to wash away all allergens so they have less exposure when sleeping.

7.       If medications do not work in treating allergic symptoms, you may wish to talk to your doctor about allergy shots (allergic immunotherapy).   

Successfully treating allergic symptoms is important.  Reactions to allergies can affect how your child is able to function both in school and at home.  They can affect behavior and mood.  Untreated allergies also make your child more likely to develop asthma.  Contact your primary care provider if you have concerns about allergies and allergy treatment options. 

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