SEASONAL ALLERGIES (Hay Fever)
Seasonal allergies are allergy symptoms that happen during certain times of the year, usually when outdoor molds release their spores, and trees, grasses, and weeds release tiny pollen particles into the air to fertilize other plants.
Signs and Symptoms
If your child develops a "cold" at the same time every year, seasonal allergies might be to blame. Allergy symptoms, which usually come on suddenly and last as long as a person is exposed to the allergen, can include:
- itchy nose and/or throat
- nasal congestion
- clear, runny nose
These symptoms often come with itchy, watery, and/or red eyes, which is called allergic conjunctivitis. Kids who have wheezing and shortness of breath in addition to these symptoms might have allergies that trigger asthma.
Talk with your doctor if you think your child might have allergies. The doctor will ask about symptoms and when they appear and, based on the answers and a physical exam, should be able to make a diagnosis. If not, the doctor may refer you to an allergist for blood tests or allergy skin tests.
The most important part of treatment is knowing what allergens are at work. Some kids can get relief by reducing or eliminating exposure to allergens that bother them.
If certain seasons cause symptoms, keep the windows closed, use air conditioning if possible, and stay indoors when pollen/mold/weed counts are high. It's also a good idea for kids with seasonal allergies to wash their hands or shower and change clothing after playing outside.
If reducing exposure isn't possible or is ineffective, medicines can help ease allergy symptoms. These may include decongestants, antihistamines, and nasal spray steroids. If symptoms can't be managed with medicines, the doctor may recommend taking your child to an allergist or immunologist for evaluation for allergy shots (immunotherapy), which can help desensitize kids to specific allergens.
Smallwood, J. C. (2016). Seasonal allergies (hay fever). Retrieved from https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/seasonal-allergies.html?WT.ac=ctg#catallergies
Last Updated 05/28/19