March 17, 2016
The welcomed spring weather means many sunshine-filled days, afternoons spent outside and an assortment of beautiful plants and flowers. Unfortunately, the spring season also means that allergies will be out in full force for the next several months.
Seasonal allergies - also known as hay fever - affect between 40 and 60 million Americans each year, including children, reported the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. As with other allergies, hay fever causes the body's immune system to react to allergens seen as invaders. In this case, it means that pollen causes water eyes, scratchy throats and runny noses for many kids.
According to KidsHealth, allergies can be passed down through genes and are often hereditary. It is rare for a child to develop allergies if neither parent has them. Yet for those children who do have allergies, it can take a toll. KidsHealth reported that 2 million missed school days each year are due to allergy symptoms among kids nationwide. The good news is that many youngsters will begin to outgrow reactions to certain allergens with age.
Triggers and symptoms
Spring allergy triggers include pollen from trees, weeds and grass, according to the ACAAI. Symptoms however, may vary among individuals and especially among children. Most children will begin to show symptoms of allergies around the age of 6, but could experience reactions to triggers as early as age 3. Sneezing, coughing and itching are common symptoms. Some children will also experience a runny nose and puffy, swollen and watery eyes.
The best form of prevention against allergies in children is to avoid allergy triggers. This means it is best to stay indoors when pollen counts are high. Pollen counts are highest from late morning until mid afternoon and on windy, mild days. You can check your weather channel for local pollen counts. If a child with allergies has spent time outdoors, be sure to wash his hands, clothes and body afterwards.