For kids with seasonal allergies, spring through fall can be a very uncomfortable time. Between pollen practically raining from the sky and people cutting grass on every corner, it seems like there is no escape! If you’ve ever suffered from allergies, you know how uncomfortable it can be. It may be even worse for your children! Kids are limited on what types of allergy medications they can take. Plus, kids typically spend much more time outdoors than adult allergy sufferers, so they’re exposed to the allergens even more! While it may be tempting to just keep them indoors the entire season, it’s not really practical. Fortunately, there are ways to cope and make it through the allergy season.
Tips to cope with kid’s seasonal allergies
Coping with kid’s seasonal allergies really depends on the severity of your child’s reactions. Some kids just get a bit of a runny nose and a dry cough. Others, though, can have severe reactions, especially when there is a history of asthma. The first step is to consult with your child’s pediatrician to diagnose seasonal allergies and determine the severity. Follow your doctor’s instructions when it comes to medication. The best tips to cope with kid’s seasonal allergies are to identify the triggers, reduce exposure, and soothe the symptoms.
Common kid’s seasonal allergies triggers
Pollen from weeds, trees and grass are among the most common allergens. Trees are the first to start reproducing. In some areas, allergies can start as early as January! Typically, though, the peak season begins in May. Pollen from ragweed is also a major allergen for many people, and starts getting really bad towards the end of the summer.
You may think the easiest way to reduce pollen exposure is to lock your child in the house all spring, but what is the fun in that? Kids need to be outdoors getting exercise and exploring! Unless your child has such a severe allergy that any exposure could cause a life-threatening reaction, staying indoors all spring long isn’t the answer. Instead, try these tips to reduce exposure to pollen:
- Keep an eye on the pollen count for your area. Your local weather report should provide this information. On days when the count is high, choose indoor activities instead.
- Start your day late! Pollen counts are the highest between 5AM and 10AM, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences . Save your family outdoor fun activities for after that time.
- Keep your windows closed. While it’s great to let the fresh air in to help cool the house, pollen can also seep in through the screen. If you can’t keep them closed all season long, at least shut them on windy days. Open them after a heavy rain, when the pollen isn’t flying through the air because it’s sticking to the ground!
- Dry your clothes inside. Sadly, when you’re dealing with kid’s seasonal allergies, you can’t really take advantage of those warm spring days to line-dry your clothes. Pollen will stick to the clothing and make things worse for your little one. Stick to using your electric dryer.
- Keep allergies out of the bed. Wash your child’s sheets regularly and use an allergy-friendly pillow to help keep pollen and dust away from your little one’s face.
Mold: During the warmer months, mold has the potential to grow out of control. These fungi thrive in moist, warm environments. Even the most meticulously cleaned home can harbor mold spores. These spores can cause horrible allergies in some kids. Indoor mold allergies can occur year-round. Outdoor mold allergies, however, usually start in spring and continue until the first frost of fall or winter. Reduce exposure to mold by:
- Keeping your house free of moisture. If you live in a humid area, run a dehumidifier or air conditioner. The goal is to keep the humidity levels in your home below 50%.
- Turn on the bathroom and kitchen vents when you are cooking or showering.
- Don’t delegate yard work chores to children with mold allergies. Raking leaves is particularly bad because the ground underneath has had plenty of opportunity to grow nasty mold!
Soothing the symptoms of kid’s seasonal allergies
Soothing your little one’s symptoms can be tricky. You have to be extra careful with medications when your children are young. Talk to your doctor to find out which medicines are safe and how often you should give it. A few tips that may help include:
- Vitamin C. Boosting the immune system and the body’s natural antihistamine response with extra vitamin C. Increase the vitamin C-rich foods that your child eats, as getting the vitamin through its natural sources is best.
- Saline nasal spray. Skip the sprays with medicine, unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Instead, use a simple saline spray to help soothe inflamed nasal passages.
- Chill out. Cold compresses can help soothe itchy, puffy eyes. Try placing a damp, clean washcloth in a Ziploc bag, and then put it in the freezer for a few minutes. Don’t let it get frozen, just slightly chilled should do it!
- Warm it up. On the flip side, warmed compresses can help open up your child’s nasal passages and relieve some sinus headaches. A washcloth soaked in warm water and rung out to get rid of the excess feels divine when your head is all stuffed up!
- Use the high-quality tissues! Yes, tissues can get expensive during allergy season, but this is one area where you don’t want to scrimp. Get the softest, thickest, and gentlest tissues you can find. They don’t have to be brand name; they just have to be soft! Anything else will cause major discomfort for little noses. Take if from someone who suffers from seasonal allergies: you don’t mess with the tissues!
While kid’s seasonal allergies are definitely no fun, the good news is that they eventually end! Many kids suffer from one type of seasonal allergy, so they could be miserable in the spring but fine by mid-summer, or fine all spring and summer, but miserable in the fall. Follow these tips as much as possible to help reduce the suffering. Just remember to also follow your doctor’s instructions. I know I repeat that a lot, but anything you read on the internet regarding medical conditions should be run by your doctor because everyone’s case is unique.
Do you have any great tips to help cope with kid’s seasonal allergies?