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Is Your Child Suffering From Spring Allergies?

What is springtime allergic rhinitis?

Rhinitis is a set of symptoms including runny and/or congested nose, sneezing, eye itching and/or watering, mucus drip down the throat (might cause cough or throat clearing), and fatigue.  Pollen is one of the things that can cause allergic rhinitis. In Colorado, tree pollen is the source of most springtime nasal symptoms, grass pollen for summer symptoms, and weed pollen for fall symptoms, though there is some overlap between the pollens and seasons.

Allergic rhinitis affects many children in the United States, and is increasing. It can be a cause of lost work days for parents, lost school days for children, and limitation of outdoor activities and sports. It also can make asthma more difficult to control. There are both over-the-counter and prescription medication remedies which can be helpful. Testing to firmly identify which pollens are affecting a child can be helpful in planning when to use medications as a preventative, and to determine if your child needs allergy shots (immunotherapy).

Tips for helping spring allergies in kids

"If your child has springtime nasal or eye symptoms, this could be due to tree pollens; or due to grass pollen in the summertime," says Dr. Kirstin Carel of the Allergy Program at Children's Hospital Colorado. Measures to help spring allergies in kids include: keeping windows in the home and car closed, especially in the bedroom (pollen is small enough that it will come through window screens), and showering or bathing before bed (to remove pollens from the skin and hair). If your child has been outdoors, showering or bathing before going to bed can help remove pollen from the hair and skin, so that it does not continue to cause irritation while asleep.  

Resources for parents: