The summer is a time of warm weather, barbecues, and fun in the sun. It is also when some of the most common seasonal allergies can flare up with symptoms, including sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes. The best time to address these problems is before they start by making sure your children know their risk factors.
Causes of Allergies
An allergic reaction is the body’s defense against an allergen or substance that causes an immune response. This immune response causes inflammation in the airways and eyes. And it can affect those with seasonal allergies even when the allergen is not present. Symptoms occur when microscopic bits of the allergen becomes airborne and contact a person’s nose or eye mucous membranes to trigger an immune response.
Allergens can be found outside, inside your home, or in your child’s environment. Common allergens include dust mites, pollen from trees and grasses, animal dander and pet dander, mold and spores from house plants and carpets, mold spores in fabrics or carpeting, household cleaners, chemicals used in paints or paints residues, chemicals used in room deodorizers etc. The intensity of the reaction can vary depending on the allergen source, but most cases require medical treatment.
When you go to your doctor with what you think are seasonal allergies, they will begin by examining you for symptoms. If the doctor believes allergy testing is appropriate, a blood or skin prick test may be performed. The prick test involves pricking the back of the forearm and placing small drops of fluid on the skin to stimulate allergic reactions. If these symptoms are present and an allergy is confirmed, your child will be given vaccines designed to treat their specific allergies.
Prevention of Allergies
To prevent your child from getting seasonal allergies, you must ensure they get frequent and regular checkups at the doctor. The best way to avoid allergies is early detection. If your child has a family member with allergies or is born in the late winter or early spring, they are more susceptible to seasonal allergies. Some children may not even realize that the itchy eyes and sneezes they get during the summertime are caused by pollen.
You can also control the allergens in your home using air cleaners, including HEPA filters, to help reduce airborne allergens. It is essential to keep your child’s bedroom doors closed to stop drafts from circulating throughout the house. You can also use a good quality dust mite-proof mattress and pillow covers with zippers or snaps to keep out pests and dust mites.
Dust mites and small insects are attracted to dust, dirt and clutter. Changing bedding, rugs, and towels daily can help keep the allergic reaction at bay. Keeping windows open during hot weather improves ventilation. It also keeps dust away from your home, keeping it cool inside and out. Sealing cracks and crevices around windows and doors will also reduce dust inside your house.
Preventing allergies with medication is usually not recommended unless truly needed for an acute attack on one’s own. Some medicines used to treat allergy symptoms include antihistamines and decongestants. Vaccines are the best way to prevent seasonal allergies in children. The only catch is that these vaccines are typically recommended for children younger than two, but getting a vaccine at this age can be challenging.
It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor if you are unsure about your child’s symptoms and make an appointment for allergy testing for your child. If testing is needed, provide the allergens as soon as possible before they react. Summer allergies can be annoying, but with the proper preparations, they can be avoided.