Seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) affects many children, especially this time of year. Signs of allergies include sneezing, stuffiness, runny nose and itchiness in the nose, the roof of the mouth, throat, eyes or ears. The most common causes of these symptoms are pollen and mold spores in the air, which start a chain reaction in the immune system.
Pollen are tiny cells needed to fertilize plants. They are spread by the wind and weather conditions can affect the amount of pollen in the air at any time. The entire pollen season generally lasts from February or March through October.
Seasonal allergic rhinitis is often caused by tree pollen in the early spring. During the late spring and early summer, grasses may cause symptoms. Weeds are the cause of late summer and fall hay fever.
Molds are tiny fungi which are spread by spores in the air. They are found almost anywhere, including soil, plants and rotting wood. Outdoor mold spores begin to increase in spring and peak in July in warmer states and October in colder states.
Individuals react differently from exposure and symptoms are affected by recent contact with other allergens, the amount of pollen exposure and their sensitivity to pollen and mold. Symptoms are often less prominent on rainy, cloudy or windless days because movement of pollen is limited.
How can you limit your child’s exposure to pollen or mold?
- Keep windows closed at night and if possible use air conditioning which cleans, cools and dries the air.
- Try to stay indoors when pollen or mold levels are reported high.
- Have your child stay indoors when you are mowing or raking leaves.
- Avoid hanging sheets or clothing outside.
- Protect your child from exposure to smoke, especially in the car.
Speak to your physician regarding medications, both over the counter and prescription.
If your child has unrelieved or severe symptoms, speak to your physician about a referral to an allergist.
Information from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and American Academy of Pediatric websites. Obtained from https://www.completechildrenshealth.com/news/articles/seasonal-allergies