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Nursing Blog: Seasonal Allergies

Nursing Blog: Seasonal Allergies


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Seasonal Allergies

It’s always a great time of year when the cold winter weather ends and spring finally appears…unless you suffer from seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies, also called allergic rhinitis or “hay fever” are very common and can be rather unpleasant and difficult to manage. An estimated 7.1 million kids in the United States report environmental allergies. Seasonal allergies can hit at various times of the year. In the spring, flower and tree pollen are common culprits. Grass pollen starts in late spring and peaks in the summer months. Weed pollen (such as ragweed) and mold spores plague kids mainly in the late summer and fall.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of seasonal allergies can include a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, itchy, watery, red eyes, sore throat, cough, and potentially dark circles under the eyes.

Seasonal allergies can be more than just a mild annoyance. Some of the consequences of allergies in children include:

  • Fatigue and poor concentration in school due to lack of sleep
  • An increase in ear and sinus infections
  • Asthma exacerbations
  • Behavioral issues from discomfort and lack of sleep

How can you minimize exposure to seasonal allergy triggers?

Even when pollen seems to be covering everything outside, there are steps you can take to prevent allergies from acting up:

  • Have your child wash their hands and face as soon as they come in from playing outside so they don’t rub pollen in their eyes and nose. Better yet, rinse them off in the shower.
  • Check the forecast for pollen levels, and limit outdoor activities when pollen counts are at their highest.
  • Dry laundry in the dryer. Since pollen can coat clothing, avoid hanging laundry outside to dry.
  • Have your child take their bath at bedtime. This will help with nighttime allergy problems.
  • Keep windows in your home and car closed and use air conditioning to filter the air. Make sure the air conditioner is on re-circulating mode.

How do you treat seasonal allergies?

In combination with taking steps to limit your child’s exposure to allergy triggers, there are many safe, effective allergy medicines that target specific symptoms your child is struggling with the most.

Most allergy medications are now over-the-counter and generally fall into the categories of oral antihistamines, nasal sprays and eye drops. Please be sure to talk to your pediatrician or nurse practitioner about the best options for your child.


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