Healthy Kids - Spring 2021

THE USUAL SUSPECTS Four of the most common allergens Pollen Trees, flowers, weeds and grasses shed these seasonal spores, which are then picked up by the wind or by insects like bees. Mold This fungus can be found both indoors in bathrooms, kitchens and other areas regularly exposed to water, and outdoors on leaves and logs. Dust Though dust particles are the allergen vehicle, the actual culprit is the tiny mites that live on them. Pets Many adults and kids alike can have an adverse reaction to an animal ’s skin cells (dander) and saliva. Though some pets are marketed as such, experts say a 100 percent hypoallergenic pet doesn’t exist.


All About Allergies

Springtime allergies are nothing to sneeze at


To ease sneezy kids’ allergy symptoms, over-the-counter antihistamines (Claritin, Zyrtec, Benadryl and their generic forms) and decongestant or corticosteroid nasal sprays (Afrin, Flonase) can be effective alone or in combination. Some antihistamines can cause drowsiness, so Dr. Laubach suggests trying them on a weekend first. Limiting exposure to possible allergens can also help. Keep the windows closed at home and in the car and use air conditioning; if possible; use an air purifier at home, and have your child change clothes after spending time outside. Remember that pets can also bring pollen into the home on their fur; so weekly baths are a good idea for pets when people in the home have allergies. If over-the-counter options just aren’t cutting it, your child’s pediatrician or an allergy specialist can figure out what environmental materials—such as dust mites, pets, or pollen— are causing them discomfort and step up treatment with prescription medications. Allergy shots may be an option to help desensitize people with severe or year-round allergies.

ike clockwork, spring ushers in an array of colorful flowers, lush greenery and ... the sneezing, sniffling and itchy eyes that signal the start of allergy season.

Seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis, can be triggered by a number of largely unavoidable springtime elements, like pollen and mold. With colds, flu and COVID-19 still kicking around and presenting similar symptoms, how can you be sure that what’s affecting your child is actually being caused by allergies? The telltale signs of an allergic reaction include clear nasal discharge, sneezing, an itchy, runny nose and watery or irritated eyes, says Susan Laubach, MD, an allergist in the Division of Allergy & Immunology at Rady Children’s Specialists of San Diego. Fevers, yellow or green mucus, and body aches are common with viruses, but are rare for allergies. Sore throats and fatigue can go either way, though a cold or the flu is the more likely cause, she says.


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