In the Mid South, we know that April showers certainly bring May flowers; but they also bring springtime allergies. As we gear up for allergy season in the Mid South, we know to keep our tissues handy and our allergy medicines fully stocked. But how can we prepare our kids for this especially sneezy season?
If your child tends to sneeze, cough, or have ENT (ear, nose, and throat) issues as spring rolls around, seasonal allergies are likely the culprit. Seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever or a pollen allergy, can begin as early as February and peak in April through June.
Since kids spend more time outside, playing alongside flowers, grass, and other dander in the air, they are more prone to seasonal allergies than adults. As pollen counts begin to rise over the next few weeks, kids may begin to exhibit symptoms that range from red eyes to severe headaches and pains.
At Pediatrics East, we often see patients this time of year who are feeling the seasonal allergy blues. To keep your kids feeling their best, we have 5 tips for springing into allergy season.
1. Sickness Vs. Allergies: Know The Difference
Many times, we have patients come in who feel like they have developed a post-winter cold or flu. Instead, their parents are surprised to find, these are just allergies!
Before you come in for a visit with your pediatrician, you can tell the difference between allergies and a true sickness or infection in the following ways:
- If mucus is thin and colorless, these are allergies; a viral infection will produce thick, colored mucus
- If your child has a fever, this is not allergy related
- If you child has aches and pains, this is not allergy related
If your child is experiencing a sore throat, has a rash, has watery or red eyes, is frequently sneezing or itching, allergies are typically to blame.
2. Spring Cleaning
Often, allergies are most severe when outdoors; however, allergens find their way inside, too. Now is a great time of year to make a list and tackle indoor projects in your home that can reduce the effects of allergens on your kids. Here are a few ways to get started:
- Change air filters
- Clean carpets
- Wash baseboards that have collected dirt, dust, and other debris
- Clean window treatments, dusting blinds or vacuuming drapes
- Dust areas that you may miss in regular cleanings, such as ceiling fans
- Clean windows and window screens, especially if you are opening windows to let the spring breeze inside
If your child is sensitive to dust year-round, these are good tips for regular cleaning to keep everyone feeling their best!
3. Turning To Medicine
Depending on your child’s age and level of allergy sensitivity, there are some medications that can help during this time. As always, consult with your pediatrician first before starting any new medications; but these are a few options that can potentially help with allergy problems:
- Decongestants: To help with stuffy noses and sinus pressure
- Antihistamines: To help with runny noses, itchiness, and sneezing; often, these can have a drowsy effect, which should be used with caution
- Nasal spray: To help with nasal issues specifically as a localized form of treatment
Again, depending upon the level of reactions your child experiences, it is important to discuss any medications with your pediatrician. Your doctor may even recommend more in-depth treatment, such as an inhaler, allergy shots, or other method for treating allergies throughout the year.
4. Get Outside – With Caution
After a few months of cold and rain, the sunny, longer days of spring are a warm welcome. Yet, as we all know, there can be too much of a good thing.
Even though your kids may want to spend most of their time outside, be mindful of their limits. Be aware of high pollen days, the amount of time they spend outside, and how their bodies react to certain allergens.
If your child seems to have prolonged allergy suffering, even with minimal outdoor time, talk to your pediatrician. Testing for other allergies may help identify another allergy problem altogether.
5. Enjoy the Season!
Most importantly, your family should enjoy springtime in Memphis – it is one of our favorite times of the year! With plenty of family-friendly festivals around town, there is so much to do and explore with one another.
Don’t let allergies stand in the way of your family fun. Talk to your pediatrician, find the right medications for your child, keep important items (tissues, eye drops, and lotion) handy, and be mindful of your surroundings and the time your child spends outdoors. Taking precautions will keep everyone happy all season long.
Memphis, TN Pediatricians
No one knows the Mid South area – or children’s health – better than Pediatrics East! Combining our expertise of caring for kids with our knowledge of living in Memphis during allergy season, our pediatricians and staff are able to guide you through this time of year.
To discuss your child’s allergies or any questions you have about the season, schedule an appointment with us today. We look forward to seeing you and making this spring a healthy one for you and your family!