If your child has allergies or asthma, spring can be a challenging time of the year. Spring brings high tree pollen counts and increasing temperatures and humidity. Seasonal allergies (or allergic rhinitis) typically cause sneezing, a runny nose, congestion, itching, and watery eyes, as well as other bothersome symptoms. These symptoms can make your child miserable.
To reduce your child’s spring allergy symptoms:
• Keep your child indoors on dry, windy days. The best time to go outside is after a good rain.
• Avoid outdoor activity in the early morning when pollen counts peak each day.
• Have your child wear a hat with a brim when outdoors.
• Remove clothes that your child has worn outside and have your child bathe (including washing or rinsing their hair) when coming in from outside.
• Don’t ask your child to do yard work or other outdoor chores during the spring allergy season.
• Keep doors and windows closed when pollen counts are high (check your local weather or pollen app) and use air conditioning to keep your home and car cool.
Several over-the-counter (OTC) medications can help relieve your child’s allergy symptoms. Start your child’s allergy medications at least 2 weeks before symptoms typically start. OTC medications include:
• Nasal saline irrigation with a squeeze bottle can help flush pollen from your child’s nose. In addition, saline eye drops may help rinse pollen from the eyes and ease irritation.
• Antihistamines such as Zyrtec, Allegra, Claritin, or Benadryl. These medications relieve sneezing, a runny nose, itching, and watery eyes.
• Nasal sprays such as Rhinocort, Nasacort, Flonase Sensi-Mist, or Flonase. These sprays work best if used daily and relieve congestion, sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy and watery eyes. Other nasal sprays, such as Cromolyn sodium, help relieve congestion and a runny nose.
• Decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) provide relief from nasal stuffiness.
• Combination of antihistamine and decongestant medications such as Zyrtec-D, Allegra-D, or Claritin-D.
• Antihistamine eye drops such as Zaditor relieve itchy, watery, and red eyes.
• If OTC medications are not enough to relieve your child’s symptoms, see an allergist for medical advice.
Your child doesn’t have to dread spring allergies. With the right treatment, you can keep your child’s allergies under control, and your child can still enjoy the season.