Kids and Seasonal Allergies
According to WebMD.com, over 35 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies, whether it be from winter into spring or summer into fall. Plaguing symptoms of sneezing, coughing, runny nose, and itchy, watery, red eyes can be overwhelming. Often more susceptible to seasonal allergies are children and young adults.
The flu or cold-like symptoms of sneezing, congestion, etc. that occur at the same time every year or during recent weather changes often signify seasonal allergies. Sometimes called “hay fever” or “seasonal allergic rhinitis,” seasonal allergies occur when outdoor molds release spores, and plant-fertilizing trees, grasses, and weeds release their tiny pollen particles into the air.
According toKidsHealth.org, immune systems of children and others who are allergic to mold spores or pollen treat these allergens as invaders of the body. So, the body releases chemicals, such as histamine, into the bloodstream as a defense against them. The release of these chemicals is what causes allergy symptoms.
Even kids who have never exhibited signs of seasonal allergies before can develop them – or be bothered them while traveling or after a move. These allergies can start at any time, but they usually develop by about 10 years of age and reach their peak in their early twenties. Symptoms can even disappear or reappear later in adulthood.
Exposure to allergens can cause wheezing and shortness of breath in addition to regular seasonal allergy symptoms, and allergies can progress into asthma. So, talk with your doctor if you think your child has allergies of any kind. Symptoms, when they appear, and a physical exam should be enough to help the doctor or pediatrician make a diagnosis. If there is any question, the doctor may refer you to an allergist for blood and allergy skin tests. All types of allergies can be accessed at that time.
AAP.org published an article on new clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “Allergy Testing in Childhood: Using Allergen-Specific IgE Tests,” in the January 2012 Pediatrics (published online Dec. 26), offering guidance for clinicians in using in vitro allergen-specific IgE type of allergy testing. Articles and studies like these are helping pediatricians in selecting the appropriate tests and interpreting the results in the context of a patient history and clinical presentation.
To be proactive and/or to try to lessen the bouts of seasonal allergies in your children, always have your kids wash their hands or shower after playing outside. Wash clothes right away, and do not have kids with seasonal allergies help with chores like mowing the lawn, which can kick up pollen and mold spores more than just about anything else.
There is no real cure for seasonal allergies, but it is possible to relieve the symptoms for your child. Taking these steps and being aware of high pollen count days, and reducing exposure to allergens when possible, are good ways to get going in the right direction. Symptoms can often be managed with medications as well, and they often desensitize kids to certain allergens.
Please contact us if you have any questions about your child health or make an appointment.