Helping kids survive allergy season
posted by: Guest Blogger
It’s springtime in the Rockies! With the warmer weather and greener grass also comes the dreaded allergy season. Learn what causes allergies and how to help your family cope this spring.
What causes seasonal allergies?
Pollen is the big trigger for both spring and summertime seasonal allergies. In the Denver area, pollen (tiny grains released into the air by trees, grasses, and weeds) is the main culprit of allergies from April into the summer months.
How can I tell if my child has allergies?
Signs that your child may be suffering from a seasonal allergy include:
- Itchy eyes and nose
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Coughing (along with the previous symptoms)
How do doctors test for allergies?
In a skin test, a small amount of an allergen is placed underneath the skin. If the area swells up and becomes red (like a mosquito bite), the test result is positive, meaning that your child might be allergic to the substance.
A blood test might be done if your child is extremely sensitive to certain allergens, has uncontrolled asthma, or has a skin condition that does not allow a skin test to be performed. For more information, or to schedule an appointment for an allergy test at Children’s, please call (720) 777-6181.
What can I do to help my kids feel better?
While it is impossible to completely avoid spring and summertime allergy triggers, you can decrease your child’s pollen exposure.
- Keep windows and doors closed at all times, and use the air conditioner or an air purifier.
- Make the beds each day and have children shower before going to bed at night to keep pollen out of their beds.
- Replace air filters as recommended and clean other areas where pollen might collect, such as bookshelves, vents and furniture.
- Vacuum at least twice a week.
- Wash bedding and rugs regularly.
Bugs — the other springtime allergy
Allergic reactions to bees, wasps, yellow jackets and hornets can be severe in kids. Be sure to inspect areas such as overhangs, crevices in siding or brick, and tree limbs prior to outdoor events and keep children away from nests or hives.
When to worry?
“Most insect bites or stings cause immediate pain, redness and mild swelling that typically goes away over the course of several hours,” said Dan Atkins, MD, Pediatric Allergy Specialist at Children’s. “Seek medical attention immediately if your child’s reaction rapidly worsens or is accompanied by hives, significant swelling, difficulty breathing or vomiting.”