Mild temperatures ushered in seasonal allergy triggers slightly earlier than anticipated this year, with widespread effects being felt as early as February throughout Maryland.
And, now, with March’s arrival, that itchy, sneezing, squinting time of the year is officially here.
An allergic reaction occurs when your child’s immune system overreacts to environmental stimuli it considers to be invasive and dangerous. For seasonal allergy sufferers, these often include:
- Tree pollen (prevalent between February and May)
- Grass pollen (March through July)
- Weed pollen (July through October)
As the immune system launches its defenses, the body essentially goes into DEFCON 1, resulting in any number of the following symptoms:
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Itchy eyes, skin, throat
It’s important to note, if your child seems to come down with reoccurring cold symptoms at the same time each year, or when the weather has noticeably shifted – seasonal allergy triggers are likely to blame.
Unfortunately, as much as society collectively looks forward to spring and summertime, those dreaded pollen counts remain relentless for months at a time, infringing upon our children’s favorite outdoor activities.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Pollen levels are at their highest in the morning.
- Windy, dry, warm days are peak times for pollen.
- Rain typically washes pollen away, allowing for a brief respite. However, pollen counts skyrocket after rainfall.
- Allergens are found in virtually every state – you cannot run from them, so you must plan for them.
Although they sound like horror movie clichés, the following suggestions can keep pollen out of your home, your hair, your clothes, and your lungs.
- Don’t open the windows! Keep pollen outside where it belongs. Use air conditioning in your house and car.
- Decontaminate! Take a shower and change your clothes after coming inside for the day.
- Keep watching the weather report. Check TV, radio, and the Internet for the latest conditions before venturing outdoors.
Additionally, consider purchasing HEPA filters for your home and vacuum cleaner, replace all air filters and follow regular maintenance for your home AC unit, and use a dehumidifier when possible.
If you are a dog owner, your pet could be carrying any number of allergens indoors, such as pollen, grass, and dust. Remember to brush them off outside. And although it can be tedious, frequent baths are a good idea.
If your child appears to be suffering from seasonal allergy symptoms, talk to your family doctor or pediatric provider. He or she may suggest decongestants and antihistamines, which are often effective in the ongoing battle against seasonal allergy triggers.
KinderMender is battening down the hatches for allergy season. We can help you do the same. Give us a call, or stop by one of our four convenient locations today.