Despite the cold temperatures, many flowers are blooming. For many of us, this first sign of spring also means seasonal allergies. Allergies often start in childhood and continue throughout life.
Dr. Katy Stordahl from Children’s Hospital says you should suspect an allergy instead of the common cold when there are repeated or chronic cold-like symptoms that last more than a week or two or develop around the same time every year.
This can include runny nose, nasal stuffiness, sneezing, throat clearing, nose rubbing, or itchy, runny eyes.
Common allergens are pollen, dust, animlas or certain foods.
If your child has allergies, work with your child’s pediatrician or allergist to identify what he or she is allergic to and avoid it as much as possible. Keep windows closed to keep outdoor pollen and mold from entering the home. Change clothes when a child comes indoors and wash clothing as soon as possible. Give your child a bath when he or she comes in from playing outdoors. Use a dryer for clothing and bedding, rather than a clothesline.
Allergy medicine is safe for kids when used properly, Stordahl says. Always check with your pediatrician before using over-the-counter medicine and use only as directed to manage symptoms. The pediatrician may prescribe an antihistamine or a decongestant, depending on your child’s specific symptoms.
There are signs it could be more than allergies. Asthma is a chronic condition that starts in the lungs. Children with asthma often feel worse during allergy season. Wheezing could indicate asthma. See your pediatrician to diagnose.