Fact Sheets : Seasonal Allergies in Children
Spring and summer months bring along with the nice weather, seasonal allergies or hay fever. Children, can also suffer from hay fever or seasonal allergies.
The symptoms of summer/seasonal allergy can be broken down into three main groups:
- Nasal: runny or stuffy nose, itchy nose, itchy palate(the top of the mouth), frequent sneezing.
- Eye symptoms: redness, itchy and/or runny eyes. Sometimes these symptoms make a child very uncomfortable.
- Asthma: symptoms include wheezing, cough and/or difficulty breathing.
(NOTE: contrary to the term “hay fever” there is no fever)
The most common pollens causing spring/summertime allergies include:
- Tree pollens (APRIL-JUNE): Maple, Ash, Oak, Elm, Birch and Cedar. When they pollinate depends on the area in which you live.
- Grasses (JUNE-JULY): Kentucky Blue grass, Rye, Orchard and Timothy. Grass allergies are worsened when the grass (lawn) is mowed.
- Ragweed (MID-AUGUST-OCTOBER): Ragweed pollen is such an important cause of seasonal allergies
Confirming Seasonal Allergies
The only way to determine whether a child has a seasonal allergy and to which specific pollen he or she is allergic to is a skin prick allergy test or a special blood test called RAST.. In younger children(under 6 years of age), skin allergy tests tend to be unreliable for pollen allergies, so in younger children the diagnosis is made by the history of repetitive nature and timing of the symptoms occurring during same time of the year.
Approaching Seasonal Allergies:
- Keep all doors and windows closed as much as possible during the pollen season*especially in the morning)
- During the pollen season avoid hanging the laundry outside to dry as the dried clothing or bedding
- Air conditioners help this as they can filter out the pollen.
Treating Seasonal Allergies
The specific treatment of seasonal allergies depends on the age and individual situation. Your child's health care professional will determine which medication(s), if any, is best for your child.