In the United States, it is estimated that almost half of the population of children are affected by some form of allergy. After a few years of exposure to an outside allergen, children can develop allergic rhinitis. This type of allergy is generally found in children over the age of two. Indoor allergies can develop in children under this age and are usually triggered by dust mites or pet dander.
When your child suffers an allergic reaction, you will notice a number of symptoms. These include a stuffy or a runny nose, puffy eyes, unusual sneezing, scratchy throat caused by post nasal drip and itchy skin, mouth, or eyes. This type of indoor allergic reaction will peak in late childhood and in some cases early adolescence, but should improve or disappear during adulthood.
There are many ways to deal with your child’s allergic reactions that you may not know. The following five tips will help prepare you for seasonal allergies that may affect your child and help both of you deal with symptoms better.
Don’t base outdoor activities on pollen counts
Your local weather station may report overall pollen levels for the day. Some pollens may not be causing allergic reactions in your child, so you do not have to limit outdoor activities immediately due to this type of report.
If your child suffers from a specific seasonal allergy, they are most likely reacting to mold spores or pollens that come out during certain times of the year. Have your child’s pediatrician perform an allergy test to find out exactly which pollens cause a reaction. Once you know which allergens will affect your child, get a report from the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology to determine the times they will be active. Monitor outside activity according to what your child is allergic to and when those allergens are a problem.
You can begin your child’s allergy medicine earlier in the year
Your child’s seasonal allergy medicine is usually more useful as a preventive than a treatment. Once the symptoms begin, they are hard to stop, so preventing them from beginning will give your child much more relief. Over the counter medicines such as nose sprays with corticosteroids are the most effective for children two years or older.
Antihistamines are suitable for relieving symptoms after an allergy attack begins, but they are also better taken before symptoms start. Allergy treatments are recommended as a daily dose because they take approximately five days to become effective.
Cold weather can help postpone allergy symptoms
During the colder season of winter, your child will experience fewer reactions to allergens. February or March usually mark the beginning of the warmer season and rain. A rainy spring will cause symptoms to start early and increase as the plants begin to sprout. Once the wet weather leaves, pollen counts will explode.
Other weather conditions can affect your child’s seasonal allergy symptoms. Windy days, as well as warm days, create higher pollen counts. When the weather is calm, the pollen remains on the ground instead of filling the air your child breathes. Calm weather days are great for getting out and experiencing some fresh air, while windy days may be better spent indoors.
There are new allergy treatments for children five years or older
Until April of 2014, children had only one method to help their allergies. Immunotherapy or AIT consisted of shots given one or two times a week or month for three years, and in some cases, up to five years. These shots are designed to provide your child exposure to what they are allergic to so their immune system can become less reactive.
New treatments are now available for children five years and older in the form of oral immunotherapy agents. The pills are absorbed under your child’s tongue and contain an extract of the grass, ragweed, or other allergen causing a reaction. Your child’s pediatrician can prescribe this treatment and monitor their response to the medicine, so ask if this treatment is available in your area.
Honey as an allergy treatment is a myth
A lot of parents believe honey works on the same principle as immunotherapy as the bees collect the pollen from various plants. The sweet taste and thick consistency may assist with children suffering from coughs. However, honey has not been scientifically proven to be a treatment for seasonal allergies.
Get the right allergy testing and treatment for your child
If your child suffers from seasonal allergies, finding an experienced pediatrician is the best way to help. Dr. John M. Young is committed to providing the best clinical experience for you and your child. Our clinic is a friendly environment your child will enjoy without worry or stress. Call us today at (806) 354-0404 to schedule an appointment or Contact Us by email to learn more about our Services. You can also stop by in person at 1500 S. Coulter St. #3 in Amarillo, TX.