Seasonal Allergies and Kids

Don't let itchy eyes and runny noses spoil your child's fall!

By Tracy Leigh Ritts


Does your child suffer from seasonal allergies? If so, spring, summer, and fall may be tough months for them.

Some of the symptoms of seasonal allergies are runny, stuffy, or itchy noses, frequent sneezing, itchy mouth, red and itchy eyes, coughing, and even difficulty breathing. Children with asthma are particularly at risk if they also suffer from these allergies, as they will likely have a tougher time dealing with their asthma.


Commonsense Precautions

The culprit of seasonal allergies is pollen. Pollen is all around us from April to October each and every year. Tree pollens create issues in the spring, grasses in the middle of summer, and ragweed from late summer to early autumn.


As a parent of a child with seasonal allergies, you want them to be as comfortable as possible. Here are some hints to help you –- and your child –- get through the allergy season:


1.   Pollen levels fluctuate daily, so check the index levels every day. The news, the Internet, newspapers, and the radio will give you this information. On heavy pollen days, keep your children inside, with the windows closed and the air conditioning on. Or, if you live near a beach, spend the day there, where the pollen levels will not be as high.

2.   Limit early morning activity. Pollen is usually the worst between five and ten in the morning, so plan late morning and early afternoon activities.

3.   Machine dry all bedding, clothing, and curtains. Hanging them outside to dry means that the pollen in the air will settle on them, and then will end up in the house.

4.   When traveling, use the car’s air conditioner instead of open windows to cool the car.


Treatment for Allergies

Talk to your pediatrician about over-the-counter medicines. When you treat your child with them, be aware of the following information:


1.   Allergy medicines only treat the symptoms, not the cause, so you should try to identify what is causing the allergy and then do your best to remove the culprit, if possible.

2.   Unless your doctor says otherwise, do not use over-the-counter nasal decongestant sprays; in most cases they don’t really help and can, in fact, make the situation worse.  

3.   Look for eye drops specifically meant for allergies. Those with antihistamines in them that will help soothe your child’s eyes.

4.   If your child has asthma, discuss the appropriate care with the doctor before treating with over-the-counter allergy medicines. They may not work correctly for your child.


When in doubt, discuss any care with your doctor. If your child has serious allergies, you will want help to decide on the best treatment.


Most seasonal allergies are just that: temporary and yet disruptive and uncomfortable. While they demand attention, seasonal allergies do not have to ruin your child’s autumn!